The first time I heard the name Wishbone Ash, it was about how they used dueling guitars before Thin Lizzy. So when I finally listened to them I was a bit disappointed. While there is occasionally some dueling guitar harmonies, they do not resemble Thin Lizzy at all. They are not fast nor rockin’ like Lizzy.
It’s a bit tough to compare them to anyone. The best I can come up with is combine Atlanta Rhythm Section and Steely Dan then sprinkle in Pink Floyd’s mellow moments. They’re mellow and poppy, at times a bit proggy. At first they may sound a bit pedestrian but get it a couple more spins and you hear more and more and really start to appreciate them.
Supposedly they do have some heaviness to their catalog but not on the albums I have. There’s The Rub is the first album I got from them. This album, Front Page News, is their eighth studio album. It starts off rather sedated with the title track and “Midnight Dancer”. The two tracks are more yacht rock than anything. Song sequence is a big problem. If you reversed the Sides and started off with “Come In From The Rain” and “Right Or Wrong” then the softer stuff wouldn’t seem so predominant.
Thankfully, there are a few highlights. “Surface To Air” is a very relaxed number with some David Gilmour style leads by Andy Powell. It is immediately followed by “714” an instrumental probably made better by track placement. The standout track is “Heartbeat”, a slow enveloping breakup song where Martin Turner’s vocals really shine.
It’s not that Front Page News is a bad album, it’s just not the top of the list of must own albums from Wishbone Ash. I paid $2 for a copy that shows some wear and tear. If I paid $5 for it I’d still feel alright because “Heartbeat” is such a great song.
I really really under paid
I really under paid
I paid about right
I over paid
I should have lit my money on fire