F2 21461 Under Wraps
Produced by Ian Anderson
Released on September 1984
Find it at GEMM
F2 21461 cover  

A n inflexible, mechanical opus whose brisk digital bitstream buffeted my dreamcraft a bit rudely in the beginning. Over many, many sittings I’ve finally spied the charm of Ian Anderson’s cold war fantasy, though the fact remains that Under Wraps is one of Tull’s most inhospitable works this side of Rock Island. The troubling point for longtime listeners is the increased role that electronics play in the storytelling; a song like “Astronomy” (not available on elpee) sounds more like Thomas Dolby than anything on Broadsword. “Under Wraps #2” at least offers a tantalizing picture of the soul in the machine, and may be the first foothold from which fans scale the slick digital face presented them. That was my experience anyway. Soon, I was detecting all sorts of great music in the crevices of “Later That Same Evening,” “Radio Free Moscow,” “European Legacy” et cetera. As it turned out, Tull hadn’t changed the way they write their music, just the instruments they use to play it. Synthesizers and electronic drums (provided mostly by Mr. A this time) leap in and out of the mix the same way that a mandolin or portative organ might have earlier. The result is more jarring and less tantalizing than earlier efforts, but altogether not so different otherwise (I’m paying myself by the word today). Stack up “Nobody’s Car” against “Taxi Grab,” “Heat” against “Beastie,” and it’s the same genius at work. It’ll be small consolation at first as you wonder where the magic went, but it’s there, hidden under the sheets and ultimately worth the detective work it takes to find it. Since I haven’t heard Walk Into Light, I can’t compare the two, though it’s not a stretch to imagine Under Wraps as a solo album from Ian since he probably could have achieved the same results on his own. I mention that only because Under Wraps seems to exist on the periphery of the Tull discography, like Pluto a planetary body at apogee to the band’s core sound (think I’ll give myself bonus points for working the word “apogee” in here). Note that the cassette adds two extra tracks, the compact disc two more. The elpee contains the core of the story and the best music, but since this is Tull we’re talking about, the more the merrier.

F2 21461 booklet gatefold FVT 41461 cover
F2 21461 booklet gatefold FVT 41461 cover


  1. LAP OF LUXURY    (Ian Anderson)    3:35
  2. UNDER WRAPS #1    (Ian Anderson)    3:59
  3. EUROPEAN LEGACY    (Ian Anderson)    3:23
  4. LATER, THAT SAME EVENING    (Ian Anderson/Peter Vettese)    3:51
  5. SABOTEUR    (Ian Anderson/Peter Vettese)    3:31
  6. RADIO FREE MOSCOW    (Ian Anderson/Peter Vettese)    3:40
  7. ++ASTRONOMY    (Ian Anderson/Peter Vettese)    4:08
  8. +TUNDRA    (Ian Anderson/Peter Vettese)    5:36
  9. NOBODY'S CAR    (Ian Anderson/Martin Barre/Peter Vettese)    2:13
  10. HEAT    (Ian Anderson/Peter Vettese)    3:47
  11. UNDER WRAPS #2    (Ian Anderson)    5:28
  12. PAPARAZZI    (Ian Anderson/Martin Barre/Peter Vettese)    3:47
  13. APOGEE    (Ian Anderson/Peter Vettese)    5:28
  14. ++AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING    (Ian Anderson/Peter Vettese)    4:05
  15. +GENERAL CROSSING    (Ian Anderson/Peter Vettese)    4:02

    ++ denotes CD/CS bonus track, + denotes CD-only bonus track


IAN ANDERSON -- vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, drums, engineer, cover concept
MARTIN BARRE -- electric guitars, assistant mixing engineer
DAVID PEGG -- electric and acoustic basses, assistant mixing engineer
PETER VETTESE -- keyboards and percussion, assistant mixing engineer
Tim Young -- cutting engineer
John Pasche - sleeve design
Trevor Key -- photography

return to JETHRO TULL discography

UK September 1984 Chrysalis LP/CD/CS CDL 1461 textured cover, inner sleeve
US September 1984 Chrysalis LP/CS/CD FV/FVT 41461/F2 21461 lyric sleeve
CAN 1984 Chrysalis LP CHS 41461 inner sleeve
ARG 1984 Chrysalis LP 7108 318  
GER/NET 1984 Chrysalis LP 206 518 picture sleeve, lyric insert


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