Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson
Thick As A Brick 2 (Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock)

2012, EMI
Prog Rock

Un Gerald Bostock non più giovane, ma non per questo meno interessante e meno complesso
Review by Andrea Mariano - Publish on: 25/04/12

Between a tour and another, between a project and another, Ian Anderson has always been asked wether he had any intention to follow up the masterpiece of Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick". He always replied that he had not the intention nor the desire to do what might be a vain remake of the original, albeit with more modern sounds. As Anderson himself told us when we recently interviewed him however, something changed a couple of years ago, and a fatidical question came to his mind: what would Gerald Bostock do today? So "Thick As A Brick 2 (Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock)" does not take the original story from where it ended, but narratively and musically depicts the likely reality in which that former child prodigy is living today.

From a purely musical point of view, we are faced with a work of resurrection of the typical 70s progressive sound. This does not mean that the disc sounds old or anachronistic: Anderson wanted to capture on CD and digital media exactly what he had in his mind: the mere sound in the most exact way because, as he said, this aspect of the recording failed to satisfy him 40 years ago. The band takes the freshness of execution of those years, dresses it up with today's clean and precise sound and the ability of Steven Wilson at the mixer finally tailors it up perfectly. Surprisingly enough we're not seeing Martin Barre at the guitar but the German talent Florian Opahle instead, who gets along extremely well anyway.

Although the album is split into 17 tracks, they are also grouped in two distinct parts: the first one called "Divergence: Interventions, Parallel Possibilities" tells about the various possible Geralds today. An invenstment banker, a homosexual homeless person, a soldier of the Afghan war, an evangelical chorister, an ordinary man. The final part, called "Convergence: Destiny, Fate, Karma, Kismet" is a balance of the life of every possible Gerald. Needless to say the stories told by Ian Anderson's voice are smooth, soothing and intelligent voice.

Altough this work fails to reach the quality level of the original, it most certainly is not a misstep: "TAAB2" is an example of how the classic progressive rock - excellently played and carefully recorded - is still capable of charming and telling something with elegance and absolute honesty. It is neither intended to be like his direct ancestor, nor intended to overcome it. Instead, "TAAB2" wants to be a respectable recapitulative statement of the several possible lives of a grown up Gerald Bostok. From this point of view and without a shadow of doubt Ian Anderson's Jethro Tull have hit the mark.

01. From A Pebble Thrown
02. Pebbles Instrumental
03. Might-Have-Beens
04. Upper Sixth Loan Shark
05. Banker Bets, Banker Wins
06. Swing It Far
07. Adrift And Dumfounded
08. Old School Song
09. Wootton Bassett Town
10. Power And Spirit
11. Give Till It Hurts
12. Cosy Corner
13. Shunt And Shuffle
14. A Change Of Horses
15. Confessional
16. Kismet In Suburbia
17. What-ifs, Maybes And Might-Have-Beens

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