Review: Roots to Branches

Through out the late ’80s and early ’90s, I could imagine that a lot of Jethro Tull fans were waiting with bated breath for the band to return to progressive rock. Not only does Roots to Branches return to those roots, it dives in face first and goes deeper than you could imagine.

The influence behind the album Roots to Branches is quite interesting. Ian Anderson has been quoted saying that the melodies and style of the album was moulded after Indian culture. It is a glaring style choice and it really brings a unique sound to the album. Like most of the recent Jethro Tull albums at the time, there was a heavy focus on Martin Barre’s guitar and that is no different here. His guitar sound is more prominent and heavier than it ever has been, even going so far as heavy metal territory. Take this heavy sound and mix it up with the Indian influences and a hint of jazz, it makes for a wonderful more complex style of music.

The foreign melodies are generally played on Ian Anderson’s flute, to which he utilises multiple. The sound of the instruments compliment the rhythmic style of the melodies and it is great to hear a band of their veteran stature pull off something unique this late in their career. The percussion played by Doane Perry has a nice bit of flavour to it. His kit playing shows how good he can be playing more complex music, something we never heard on the previous albums featuring his talent. Add Dave Pegg to the mix and you have a pretty satisfying unusual sound.

For whatever reason, Roots to Branches is not thought of very highly between music reviewers and some fans. I genuinely find that perplexing as this album features quite literally everything I love about this band. It uses the folk style, implements the then modern heavy rock style and throws in some world music for good measure. The band pull it off very well and I would consider this record a modern classic from Jethro Tull.

For reference, check out songs like Beside Myself, Roots To Branches, Rare and Precious Chain and This Free Will. If these songs do not meet your expectations then this album is not for you. If however you enjoy it, I would highly recommend picking it up.

Rating : 9 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Roots to Branches
  2. Rare and Precious Chain
  3. Out of the Noise
  4. This Free Will
  5. Valley
  6. Dangerous Veils
  7. Beside Myself
  8. Wounded, Old and Treacherous
  9. At Last, Forever
  10. Stuck in the August Rain
  11. Another Harry's Bar