Jethro Tull

Chrysalis Records, 1979

REVIEW BY: Riley McDonald


You cannot believe how difficult it is for me to write this review. Jethro Tull is my favorite rock band of…well, ever. This, unfortunately, does not mean that everything they release is automatic gold. In the case of this album, that rule is painfully true.

To me, this sudden drop in quality came as a surprise. After all, the band had just released two of their better records, Songs From The Wood and Heavy Horses, and a great live album, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Bursting Out: Jethro Tull Live. With Stormwatch's interesting, dark-looking album cover, I was hoping that maybe there would be a return to the hard-rockingness that hadn't been seen since the controversial War Child. Instead, we ended up with a half-baked product that leaves a sour taste in the mouth of the listener.

The album starts out decently enough, with the folky "North Sea Oil." The flute/guitar combination is very good. However, this is one of the only worthwhile songs on the album. What follows are the nerve-grating "Orion"; the overblown ballad "Home"; and the painfully overlong "Dark Ages."

Fortunately, the instrumental "Warm Sporran" saves the album from being a complete waste. It's an intriguing little ditty, with a great rhythm section, and some marvellous flute movements. Other than that, the only other good song I can find on this album is track seven, "Old Ghosts," which isn't one of their best songs, but it works.

The main problem that I have with this album is its lyrics. Up until then, Tull had been renowned for their thought-provoking, rich lyrics. On Stormwatch, however, things changed from deep to boring. "North Sea Oil" has to be some of the worst lyrics Anderson has ever written. Also, "Something's On The Move," aside from being one of the worst songs I've ever heard (honestly, could that chorus be any more half-assed?), has some of the most terrible lyrics known to the rock genre.

Continuing the steady flow of unfortunate events, members of the classic Tull lineup: David Palmer; Barriemore Barlow; and John Evan would all leave the band after this. If that wasn't bad enough, bassist John Glascock died shortly after this album was released.

Jethro Tull definitely were going through some tough times here. And the release of this album would be the herald to a drastic change in both their lineup and their music for a long while. It's just a shame that they couldn't start off this new era with a bang.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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