Title: Coat of Arms
No, this is not another review of a classic album from the band’s catalogue this is, wait for it, a new album! In fact, the release help to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary (which can also be found on vinyl, if you need to know). The twin lead guitars are there and there’s even a single, We Stand as One. A worthy title if ever there was one. In this incarnation of the group, you’ll find founder member, guitarist and vocalist Andy Powell, drummer Joe Crabtree (who joined in 2007), Bob Skeat on bass and relative newcomer Mark Abrahams on guitar (who was apparently playing Wishbone Ash ditties since he was nine. Which says it all, really.
This new Wishbone Ash album appears in a digipak with a colour, colour booklet stuffed within the available pouch, packed with lyrics for all 11 songs.
Mastering is very nice indeed, encouraging the broad soundstage into an epic state of mind. The midrange has also been enhanced with both air and space that allows guitar reverb tails to roam easily. Percussion is big, bold and bombastic from the lower end but the ear can still pick out delicate cymbal taps from the treble area.
The songs here are admirable in lyrical terms. Apart from the usual ‘luv thang’, hopes, dreams and security, there’s a measure of sentimentality relating to the band and its journey, raging against politics, raging against corporations and the powerful who ride roughshod over the ordinary geezer, as well as the weaknesses of our fellow man.
’Twas ever thus, eh? Of course, there is a little bit of the ‘old man shaking his fist at the sky’ thing going on here and the words are sometimes more impressive than the music covering it but I’m happy that the group itself actually has something to say. Which is more than many current, younger songwriters who just love to tell tales of the bland.
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