Q - 10/95, p.1153 Stars
- Average - "...ROOTS TO BRANCHES is the work of a group who know their strengths to be classy, muscular and melodic rock...but compare this to Floyd's recent work and the Tull come over like the MC5..."
Jethro Tull: Ian Anderson (vocals, acoustic guitar, concert & bamboo flutes); Martin Barre (electric guitar); Andrew Giddings (keyboards); Dave Pegg, Steve Bailey (bass); Doane Perry (drums).
Jethro Tull: Ian Anderson (vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, flute, harmonica, percussion); Martin Barre (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Dave Pegg (mandolin, bass guitar); Dave Mattacks (keyboards, glockenspiel, bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, hi-hat, tom tom, percussion).
Whereas in the 1980s Jethro Tull had dabbled in heavy metal and modern rock, ROOTS TO BRANCHES hearkens back to the classic Tull sound. For one thing, there is a lot more flute on this record, making it one of the band's more vintage-sounding offerings during their later era.
There's much spirited interplay between Martin Barre's power chords and lightning solos and Anderson's muscular flute. The inclusion of a slightly Middle Eastern-sounding synthesizer line on "Rare and Precious Chain," and the brisk rocker "Out of the Noise," a brisk rocker, adds color and atmosphere. With orchestral-sounding backing and impassioned singing by Anderson, the slightly menacing "This Free Will" is reminiscent of the early Tull's rock epics. The intro to "Valley" recalls the stop-start opening of the Tull chestnut "Nothing is Easy" before it unfolds into a mini-epic alternating between gently pastoral and fiercely electric sections. "Wounded Old and Treacherous" finds Anderson speak-singing over a jaunty piano, addressing issues of mortality. "At Last Forever" is a rarity for Tull: a fairly straightforward love song, albeit with some characteristic flourishes, while "Another Harry's Bar" is oddly reminiscent of late-period Dire Straits.