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Wigwam - Titans Wheel CD (album) cover



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3 stars Well, new album for a long time! At last, you can say. New old Wigwam is again on the road. How about album, then? Itīs good old Wigwam, perhaps too carefully made, sounds like Wigwam in the middle of 70ī. Songs are typical Wigwam songs, same excellent like tittle song but there is some meaningless songs, too. Rekkuīs guitar is somehow different mixed than in earlier Wigwam recordings, little bit lighter and itīs not so dominated. Itīs perhaps too weak, too low and same thing is on keybords, too. High voices on the background, I think too far away! Same songs suffers of this balance. Rekku is fantastic guitarist, but now he is on the background. Material on this album is rather good, not so brilliant like on Nuclear, but good Wigwam quality anyway. Perhaps they can take more risks on their next album, which they are now recording. But itīs good comeback album, avyhow, not masterpiece, but not bad at all. Itīs Wigwam!
Report this review (#22842)
Posted Wednesday, January 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This album hasn't anything to do with the band WIGWAM that I know from records like "Fairyport" for example when Pekka Pohjola and Jukka Tolonon were still in the "Wigwam". In fact the only one left from this line-up is the singer and piano player Jim Pembroke, but even the vocs I don't like on this album. I can't agree to my co-reviewer at all that it sounds like albums from the mid 70s. I just recently listened to "Nuclear Nightclub" and "Being" and if I recall correctly it was a completely different kind of music from this album here. It was much more proggy and jazzy and you could really call it Canterbury sound but not "Titan Wheel". What the band is presenting here instead is absolutely mainstream rock/jazz music. In some way it reminds me to later Supertramp outputs. Songs which are rather hard rocking ones like No.12 are sounding very much like arena rock (Asia as an reference). Sorry to the musicians who actually perform quite well, but this kind of music is just a standard mediocre one perfect for airplay but far away from that stuff I use to know from them. 1 1/2 stars maximum!
Report this review (#22844)
Posted Thursday, January 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Same persons here as in the classic line-ups of the band, or at least those of them who could attend to the recording sessions. Music is though different now, it's some kind of AOR / pop rock with vintage sounds (Mellotrons!). It's also released through EMI's famous "Harvest" label. Maybe prog related, if the styles should be labeled for albums instead of bands (some BEATLES influences maybe). For fans of both this kind of music and JIM PEMBROKE, but this is not prog in the way their 70's albums are.
Report this review (#79863)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Until this week I hadn't ever listened to this latter-day WIGWAM studio album (with very unfavourable reception generally), while I have given a merciless one-star rating to the last album Some Several Moons (2005), which to my surprise has a slightly better reception. Perhaps I should re-evaluate it too, but it's pretty clear that the 68-minute Titans Wheel is much more rewarding to me. (I might give even three stars, if this wasn't a Prog site.)

Sure, it more or less lacks what made Nuclear Nightclub (1975) a classic. [Please note that IMHO any comparisons to the proper Prog-era Wigwam featuring Pekka Pohjola and Jukka Gustavson would be completely unfair.] There are no timelessly strong melodies or exciting hooks, no adventurous arrangements, no highly memorable songs that really move you. Titans Wheel is a fairly professionally done (very thinly prog-flavoured) rock album by seasoned musicians. The sound itself is really not that bad. Only the drummer Jari Kettunen belongs to the younger generation; songwriters Jim Pembroke and Rekku Rechardt (g) are accompanied also by Måns Groundstroem (b) and Esa Kotilainen (keyb), all central figures of the 70's Finn-Prog scene. Actually I'd say sonically the weakest link here is the frontman Pembroke as a vocalist. As if he attempts to sound like Bob Dylan.

To some listeners the length itself is Titans Wheel's biggest fault. Well, one can always pick up the best and ignore the rest. Of the 13 songs I can pick up the ones that please me the most, whereas Some Several Moons only bored me from start to end, and I never actually listened to it twice... shame on me! Let's concentrate on the -- admittedly modest -- highlights:

The opener 'Remains To Be Seen' has good dynamic variety and some Beatles-like details; unfortunately Jimbo's vocals get slightly ugly at times, like on the whole album. Slow-tempo 'Titans Wheel' has a deep atmosphere, and the speech parts can be compared to some FISH moments. The electric guitar solo is short but great. Yeah, perhaps even the best song. 'Bitesize' has a great bass sound which gives it a place in top five. 'Greatfield' would be a prog-pop song that improves upon repeated listenings, but sadly it features a chorus with the ugly Dylan mockery. 'Win Your Love': a love ballad, decent enough. The vocally slightly speech-oriented 'The Lost Lizard King' feels like a sequel to the title track. 'To the Other Side' is quite good. I'd say this isn't as bad an album as its common reception suggests. In fact also Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose, 1976, does very little to me. This is clearly the same band offering not-so-radically-different stuff.

Report this review (#1497500)
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2015 | Review Permalink

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