Wishbone Ash have a wonderful history that cannot be ignored. And while I’m not one to call every release of theirs from beginning to now, perfect, I’ve generally enjoyed most of them. I’ve been a fan since discovering them for myself as early as their second album after hearing “Lullabye” played on FM radio. If you were to ask me which was their best album, I’d say it was Wishbone Four without blinking. There is not a bad song on that album. But I also like Locked In quite well despite being in the minority on that one (although I still don’t understand why it’s not as well liked an album).
So, whenever Wishbone Ash release an album, I always, always, ALWAYS take notice.
Their latest, Blue Horizon, is a good collection of dynamic tracks that do several things at once. The first, and most important, is to pay tribute to the classic Wishbone Ash sound from the past. And that is accomplished well enough on Blue Horizon. The opening track (“Take It Back”) begins with a riff that I can hear myself replaying in my head years from now. The song itself musically hints of Wishbone Ash from the There’s The Rub sessions, specifically “Lady Jay” in parts.
The other thing is that it establishes a solid ground for the current band and fans to stand on.
But there are nine other songs here. “Tally Ho!” presents a Front Page News feel to it. Blue Horizon definitely has its share of what could be encore material. I find “Way Down South” to be one of those songs. Its sense of melody, its structure, and the insane musical brilliance that kicks in around the 3:30 mark through to the finish of the song is absolutely classic. The guitar is inspired. It’s the album’s most perfect track, and is fast becoming one of my favorite Wishbone Ash tracks fitting in with the great tunes of old.
Not to be ignored is the title track, a nearly 8-minute rock n roll piece that explores the musical past of Wishbone Ash.
All of the songs on Blue Horizon are extended tracks, which I like. This is especially true of the two end tracks, “Blue Horizon”, and “All There Is To Say”, which starts and ends reminding of “Throw Down The Sword”. Both are excellent songs on Blue Horizon, and not to be missed. I’ll leave the rest for you to explore.
Please bear in mind that I’m not looking for the Wishbone Ash redux. No. But I do want to hear the reasons why I’m a fan to begin with, not a completely new refresh of the band. Blue Horizon is the best of the Wishbone Ash collection after the demise of the original lineups, both Mark I, and Mark II.
I love the obvious care that went into the construct of this album. It reverberates throughout the ten tracks, sometimes exploding like a brilliant display of fireworks with all the ‘oohs and ahhs’ apparent. Blue Horizon is an excellent album.
Release Date: February 21, 2014
Availability: CD, DD, LP