War Child was nearly an orphan. Originally meant as a soundtrack to a film (something about a child's adventures in the afterlife), Ian Anderson's unwillingness to relinquish artistic control killed the project. Jethro Tull recovered, and instead put together a collection of (previously written) songs, giving it the distinction of being their first album since Benefit to avoid an epic construct. The album though is rich in arrangement, with David Palmer's orchestrations playing a central role. Anderson adds as much sax as flute; while it seems like John Evan must have recently picked up an accordion, as it features prominently on many tracks! Although the songs are shorter, Anderson did not do away with any of his quirky signatures, nor the typical density in his compositions. In fact, the album serves as a blueprint for what Jethro Tull would produce for the remainder of the decade. Highlights are, undoubtedly, the playful "Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day" and the radio-friendly "Bungle in the Jungle"—though both were leftovers from the aborted 1972 Château d'Hérouville sessions. The latter track would reach No. 12 on the US single charts; and the album was particularly well received in the US, where it reached No. 2. In the UK, however, it would have to settle at No. 14.
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Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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"Always ready with the ray of sunshine"