Somehow this is the second Jethro Tull album I’ve had the (mis)fortune of listening to this year – Thick As A Brick is one of their most popular albums, and it turns fifty years old this week. And in a weird way, I both like it more and like it less than Songs From The Wood.
On the one hand it features way more of that damned flute; between Tull and Foreigner, 2022 is becoming the year of the fucking flute for me. And it has a lot more of that kitschy riff work, the flute and the organ often playing simple sounding strings of notes in lieu of a melody, especially in the second half of the first side of the album (titled “From the Upper Class” on reissues).
But at the same time, I have to respect what the group did here: Thick As A Brick is a concept album about a poem by a fictional eight year old, written entirely as a single piece of music – originally a pair of 20-minute tracks taking up Side 1 and Side 2 of a record, with both sides flowing into each other. And when it isn’t leaning into the offputting flute/organ combo, the album is really bloody good, a classic of the progressive genre that brings together some fantastic rhythm work and singer Ian Anderson’s inimitable style, particular in the early going on Side 2 (“See There Is A Man Is Born” in reissues).
Thick As A Brick is really good at times. But that damn flute. Ugh.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.