BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Yet another example of a band seeking a second life decades past its prime, Wishbone Ash carries on in surprisingly fine form, thanks to the determination of sole remaining charter member, guitarist Andy Powell, and a cast of new recruits. While the sweeping majesty of early albums like Pilgrimage, Argus, and Wishbone Four may be muted somewhat in the hands of the band’s current incarnation, the spirited approach that sparked those earlier efforts is, for the most part, still intact.
The vocal harmonies and dueling guitars stay true to Wishbone Ash’s original template, although at times the group appears like they’re emulating Yes and the Allman Brothers. However strange that comparison may seem, several songs do stand out – the resounding title track, the distinctly dynamic “Mary Jane,” and the riveting and relentless “American Century” in particular. Wishbone Ash’s greatest challenge at this point may be to reestablish an individual identity, one that offers allegiance to the early imprint while still proving themselves competitive with today’s forward-facing jam bands.
Indeed, the fact they were never exactly A-list rock royalty gives them little to lean on as far as added cachet. Then again, if they can keep making albums as impressive as Blue Horizon, they’ll likely have little problem reinventing themselves as classic contenders in their own right.
DOWNLOAD: “Mary Jane,” “Blue Horizon,” “American Century”