First In Four Years is a Smash

 

Rating: Five out of Five stars

Date: 8/25/99

Tull fans haven't heard new music from their favorites since 1995's generally well-received Roots to Branches. The new disc surpasses RtB; some even calling it the best Tull in 20 years. The band stretches out in spots; such as the guitar work on El Nino's chorus and the almost spoken word Hot Mango Flush. Rockers such as Spiral, Hunt By Numbers and Black Mamba coexist with more introspective work such as Wicked Windows, A Gift of Roses and the title track. Ian Anderson's voice hasn't sounded this good in years. Strong guitar work is provided by Martin Barre, with Andrew Giddings' keyboard work a fitting complement. Tull veteran Doane Perry is typically solid on the skins; and newcomer Jonathan Noyce provides excellent bass work. The production by Anderson is excellent; the album was engineered by Anderson, with the rest of the band and longtime Tull engineer Tim Matyear contributing.

 

An excellent effort all 'round.

 

 

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