If the The Zealot Gene (2022, see review) wasn't already a wonderful album, the latest of Jethro Tull (after only a year) RökFlöte is an absolute gem. It sounds fresh, as if the band has received a transfusion with fresh blood. And that fresh blood is guitarist Joe Parrish-James. His influence on this album is huge. He gives compositions OF Ian Anderson a power that the band really needed. With RökFlöte, Ian Anderson returns to the folk prog that Jethro Tull made famous. That's where his roots lie and you can hear that. And folk/prog/rock also happens to be the basis of Joe Parrish-James.
RökFlöte is an album by a band that has fun. From subtle to heavily rocking, everything is covered. It rocks and is at times even danceable! The excellent drummer Scott Hammond, a true technician, grooves like a rock and together with bassist David Goodier he lays a foundation that is rock solid. John O'Hara can enjoy himself on his Hammond organ, piano and (sometimes) accordion. Of course the flute has the leading role, Ian Anderson plays like never before, but in perfect harmony with Parrish-James' electric guitar. They regularly take over each other's melody lines. Joe Parrish-James has also taken over Anderson's acoustic guitar and mandolin. Perhaps because in this way Anderson was able to concentrate completely on his flute playing and singing, Ian sings well on this album. The studio environment (and tranquility) works wonders. RökFlöte is based on Norse mythology. Anderson is quite into all things religious, without being a religious person himself. As he wrote on the album Aqualung “In the beginning man created God”. He has tried to understand more about pre-Christian religions and RökFlöte proves his fascination with the culture and history of the Scandinavian Vikinglands and the ties of the Vikings with Scotland and the Scottish islands where Anderson was born. You can hear that in the lyrics, each of which proves again Anderson's poetic skills.
Jethro Tull is back and a treat to listen to. Fresh blood works wonders!
***** Arne van Os van den Abeelen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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