Jethro Tull, Stand Up

Stand up and pull their finger out is more like it. There are fun moments (the sludgy blues of "A New Day Yesterday," the Bach redo in "Bourrée") and deep moments ("Reasons for Waiting") and at least one heavy rocker ("We Used To Know," chiefly), but the Celtic affectations get old fast; much of the album are songs in perpetual neutral (the chronic rhythmic tease of "Back to the Family" comes to mind) while we wait for them to cut the crap and get to it. Even the snark in "Fat Man" can't save it from the noodles and molasses, and the album's generally tinny mix doesn't help. "It's not easy singing sad songs," warbles Ian Anderson, but he forgets it's not necessarily a good time listening to them either. The 2001 single-disc remaster improves this by including their two 1969 singles, the excellent "Living In The Past" and the superbly menacing "Sweet Dream" on the A-side, and while B-side "Driving Song" is perfunctory the other B-side "17" transcends its flat recording with actual rock and an actual beat. See, they can do it when they want to, so why didn't they on the album? The three-disc 2010 and 2016 releases largely just add extended live sets and are best left to the obsessed. (Content: no concerns.)