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1 December-14 December 1983
Walk Into Light
(Chrysalis CDL 1443)
I used to think that Ian Anderson was Jethro Tull. But, on the evidence of this, his first 'solo' album, I now know that not to be the case. Without creative input from Tull colleagues Barre, Barlow and Palmer the inspiration has dried up. The songs lead nowhere. The result is stagnation.
Aside from a token strum of his Martin acoustic and a trill on the beloved flute, the essentially English sound has been replaced by an array of soulless silicon chips. Linn drum computers, Emulators and electronic keyboards offer a variety of colours and patterns but ultimately overwhelm Ian's eccentric rural charm.
Shut away in his home studio for the first month of the project running the ship single-handed, he obviously lost direction and foundered. He then brought in keyboard maestro Peter Vettese to salvage the album. But, with the exception of the promising 'Looking For Eden', the partnership has not been a success. The arrangements act merely as camouflage for lack-lustre material. Having built his own studio Ian seems keen to show it off.
If, like me, you've been concerned by the increasing dependence on technological toys and effects on recent Tull albums this will confirm your fears. Even Ian's normally witty and pointed lyrics have given way to the contrived and the trite ('User-Friendly', 'Black And White Television') and the resurgence of old themes ('Trains').
As a devoted Tull fan of many years standing it gives me no pleasure to say that Walk Into Light is a grave disappointment. I have tried desperately to like it — playing it over and over in a vain attempt to find a memorable hook. But it remains an ill-conceived capitulation to fashion.
Thanks to Elwyn Davies for this article.