Here we are again with a look at a few of the non-Genesis related albums which are getting rotation here at TWR HQ.
First of all is the latest offering from Ian Anderson. The front man for Jethro Tull will be no stranger to most of you and his work is no stranger to the pages of TWR. Ian’s latest album Homo Erraticus takes as its subject the history (real and imagined) of the British Isles over the past 8000 or so years from post Ice Age Doggerland to the rise of Empire and the postwar decline of Britain and a somewhat sceptical imagining of mankind’s future among the stars. All of this in a mere 63 or so minutes would be a nightmare in the hands of anyone with less talent that Ian Anderson. As a concept album this one is right up there with the best of them and it manages to cover such delicate subjects as the current anti foreigner sentiments being expressed in the UK and elsewhere, the overcrowding of the planet as well as much more besides in Anderson’s own inimitable fashion. New proggers take note: when they put their mind to it, the old guard can still do concepts better - superb stuff!
Next up is an album by another old stager: Fish. It has been a while since Fish has put an album out but the wait has been definitely worth it. His latest offering A Feast Of Consequences is everything you would expect from the man. A lyrically heavy album accompanied by some truly beautiful musical moments. The suite of pieces inspired by the Great War is a truly remarkable piece of work in which the entire range of emotions and drama of that awful conflict are given full rein. In the hands of a lesser individual something like this would so easily descend into sentimental mawkishness but not here. Fish manages to convey an earthy realism and passion throughout the suite and indeed the rest of the album which makes this his best album for some time to my ears and one which I can’t wait to hear in the live context which is always the litmus test for his work.
And finally we come to another favourite here at TWR HQ. Seth Lakeman is one of those rare individuals who manages to combine a love of traditional storytelling with a fine line in social commentary. His latest album: Word Of Mouth ranges from: The Saddest Crowd, a beautifully observed tale of the survivors from the Titanic disaster to the tales of everyday folk doing quite extraordinary things such as Another Long Night , the tale of a ship worker’s life in the Devonport shipyards. Traditional material sits comfortably here along side Lakeman’s own creations with the common thread being a love of time and place. Thought provoking, emotional and downright superlative writing, this one has it all and if you buy one album this year make sure it is Word Of Mouth!