One Track Mind: Ian Anderson, “Enter the Uninvited” from Homo Erraticus (2014)

When all of the talk about concepts and recurring characters is done, an album like Ian Anderson’s forthcoming Gerald Bostock-themed Homo Erraticus must still have the musical goods — must still hold up on its own. The frenzied, very modern creativity surrounding “Enter the Uninvited” signals that it will.

Simply overflowing with ideas, the song begins with a retrospective feel, as Anderson utilizes every tool on his crowded prog workbench. There’s an anticipatory keyboard rumination, a nostalgic aside on the flute and then a confrontational opening musical statement powered along by a serrated rhythm. Only then, after he’s seemingly reaffirmed every element of his legend as frontman and mastermind with Jethro Tull, does Anderson get down to the business of a narrative.

Bringing in fin de siecle symbolism from the fall of a great empire, Anderson sets the stage for a modern examination of sloth and inattention punctuated by a series of tart images to make the point. His furiously inventive wordplay touches on burger kingdoms, Google distractions and Facebook obsessions, sheeps and pigs and tithes that are fatter still, Cold War spooks and John Birch loonies, Elvis hips and Monroe lips. There’s more, but you get the idea.

Due on April 15, 2014 via Kscope, Homo Erraticus finds Anderson returning to a fictional figure who stood at the center both of Jethro Tull’s 1972 triumph Thick as a Brick, and Anderson’s own 2012 solo sequel. “Enter the Uninvited” shows that, despite that lengthy relationship, Bostock can still urge Anderson to greatness.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.