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Wishbone Ash - Twin Barrels Burning CD (album) cover


Wishbone Ash

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Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars I was pretty surprised the first time I saw Wishbone Ash referred to as a prog-related band. Granted, this is largely based on Argus, a great album but really the odd man out for a band whose career is closing in on forty years and two dozen albums.

And I’m not one to quibble about where the progressive lines should be drawn either, being a fan of several bands that have dubious claims to that label.

But whatever their earlier career represented, this particular album doesn’t fall into any category except heavily blues-influenced hard rock. The sound here is far closer to the Allman Brothers than it is to Genesis. Guitarist Andy Powell and drummer Steve Upton were the only remaining original members by this point, and Upton would be gone before the end of the decade. John Wetton had abandoned the band after a brief stint to form Asia. And to top all that off, it was the dawn of the 80s, and we all know what that did to most bands that were even passingly progressive.

Nothing really stands out much. There are guitar-god love songs (“Genevieve”), back- seat lust songs (“Can’t Fight Love”), missing-my-gal-so-I’m-calling-her-in-the-middle-of- the-night-songs (“Hold On”), picking up skank on the street songs (“Streets of Shame”), you and me against the world songs (“Wind Up”), and a couple of god’s gift to women songs (“Can’t Fight Love”, “No More Lonely Nights”). The only track that really stands out is “Angels Have Mercy”, and that’s only because the mix on this one is particularly fuzzy, and I’m left to wonder if that one was recorded at another time and simply used to fill time here.

Weaving all of this together is a two-guitar attack that is sort of like the twin-axe attack the band was known for in the 70s, but not quite. In most cases there is a definitive lead guitar, with the other embellishing somewhat but mostly just providing accompaniment.

It’s hard to say why the band went this route on the album, except to say they were probably pressured to deliver one for their management or label, and considering the sketchy lineup this may have been the safe route. These are all songs that could be easily done live as well, and since live concerts are what carried the band through this decade, that would have been a pretty good business decision. Anyway, lots of screaming guitar, and not too much spark on drums, but passable.

If you’re a big Wishbone Ash fan you more than likely already own this. If you were a casual fan of the band back in the early 80s (like me), this will most likely be a letdown. If you like The Duane Allman style of blues-rocking then this album will appeal to you. Otherwise, get Argus, or just keep shopping. Two stars.


Report this review (#81446)
Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Twin Barrels was my first real introduction to Wishbone Ash and it's easy to tell why I instantly lost all interest in the band. It's clear - already on a first listen - that this is a filler record, recorded just for the sake of another (company?) release. Not familiar (with exception of Livin Free) with WA's music, I started to hate the band, since so much was written about the delicacy of their (prog?)music. I expected prog- rock on the record, not underproduced second-class pop songs! The only song that actually works is Can't fight love, but yet again, it's just another 80' style pop-rock song. The opener is kinda catchy in the beggining, but only until first lines are sung, while the last song is another cheap Rush meets Yes copy- product. I gave the record several tries, but nothing helped lift this record off the ground. You may actually disregard my commentaries (why do I even bother, right?), but imagine how hard it was for me to grab another WA record. If it wouldn't be Prog Archives, WA would forever stay in my mind as a third- class fake prog-related band... But since so many sources here are relating to Argus as an excellent record, I finally got over this buy (bought in on sale in 2001), and gave WA one more try, not expecting anything special... Gladly, I was rewarded with another classic sweetie. And I was prepared to change my opinion about WA: not overrated, but underrated band. About this record? Stay away as far as you can if you don't wanna spoil your taste... or do injustice to the band.

Report this review (#198332)
Posted Saturday, January 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Twin barrels burning is second studio album of Wishbone Ashe from the '80's. Well another let down album. The progressivness of this band is questionable, only Argus and There's the rub are more dozate with prog elements, the rest are from hard rock to boogie and even some pop here and there. So for a true prog listners some of their album must appeal as weak or bad, to me they are in between, some I like , some of them I don't, but as a whole I like this band even they are not a prog band - as is labeled here as prog related maybe is ok. Now twin barrels burning is from 1982 and featurs on bass a not necessary famous musician but a real good one on his instrument - Trevor Bolder from Uriah Heep. The music from this album is from hard rock to a more comercial attitude and the resoult is again a weak album. I don't mind to be a hard rock or heavy metal album, but then I want to hear a good album not some tired band without any ideas at all. Another case of being a lost album in their discography is because guitarist Andy Powell and drummer Steve Upton were the only remaining original members, so the unit like it was in the early days is gone. Not a piece stands as real winner, some of them are extremly boring like Me and my guitar or Can't fight love. The opening track Engine overheat is ok, but as a whole this album desearves only 2 stars from me. Ten times weaker than number the brave and at same level of mediocrity with Just testing.
Report this review (#201162)
Posted Friday, January 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Twin Barrels aren't twin guitars?

The grandeur of the band consisted in superb and powerful twin guitar moments. There is nothing as such on this rather average album. It can't even be considered as a good rock album. Not to mention about progressive music of course.

Most of the songs are pure classic rock songs. But without any feel. Straight forward hard-rock is mostly on the rendezvous ("Can't Fight Love"). While you are listening to this album, it is quite difficult to imagine how good this band was in its early stages (over ten years prior to this album). The poor "No More Lonely Nights" is probably the best illustration.

The listening to this album is not quite convincing. This is only sub-par hard-rock without heart or soul. It is quite a challenge to listen to the whole without pressing the magical "next" key. I recommend it though, even if I didn't use this feature to review this Barrels stuff.

After a weak "Streets Of Shame" (I bet you), follows a dramatically poor and heavy "My Guitar". Even if one would only listen to this album with a rock perspective, one should acknowledge a weak effort. I'm not talking prog here of course. It is totally alien, even if "Hold On" features some great guitar work (thank god!).

This album should not be considered as an average straight rock album. I will be generous to grant it with two stars.

Report this review (#457705)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Martin Turner's absence is a huge blow to the band's musical quality, and the also great Trevor Bolder can't fill the creative hole.

Let's see what we've got here, track-by-track:

Engine Overheat: You never have a second chance to make the first impression. This is one of the less memorable starting songs in the entire Wishbone Ash discography.

Can't Fight Love: AOR style rocker, with radio-friendly chorus. Nothing more.

Genevieve: It leaves the same feeling as Can't Fight Love. Let's go to the next one.

Me And My Guitar: Sarcastic title, as we have an interesting bass riff in an otherwise totally uninspired song.

Hold On: Another AOR style song, makes me wonder how they thought this transformation would help them. They clearly didn't had "it" on that genre.

Streets Of Shame: By this song, it becomes clear. They were so uninspired in this album, that there are not even great guitar solos, the only constant element throughout their career.

No More Lonely Nights: A very good riff on an otherwise mediocre song with an annoyingly simplistic chorus.

Angels Have Mercy: Very tired and disappointed by the time I've reached this song... It's so mediocre you desperately wanna skip it after the first minute.

Wind Up: Not the synonymous Jethro Tull piece of course... Maybe the best song of the album, an OK song in general, sometimes even enjoyable, which is kinda big deal for such a mediocre album.

RANKING: What should I do? Should I give it 1 star? Is it better or worst than Locked In? This one has a better production, it's more even and the performances are OK, without idiotic voice-boxes and stuff.

On the other hand, the songwriting is even worst, with no stand-out songs, NOTHING special, and without Martin Turner's voice and unique performances to give it something more. There are no good guitar solos either, which makes a huge difference for Wishbone Ash.

Since it was their creative nadir (compared to the previous albums at least), and Locked In took 2 stars for being actually 1,5 star, I'll have to go with 1 star for this.

Report this review (#1630632)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2016 | Review Permalink

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