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Wishbone Ash - Martin Turner: Written In The Stars CD (album) cover


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4 stars "Written In The Stars" is the first studio album of original material released by the band formerly known as Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash (until a court case forced a change of name). As Martin Turner does not have a section of his own on progarchives, and his bands' other albums are already listed under Wishbone Ash, I make no apologies for adding this one here.

"Written In the Stars" captures the spirit of 1970s Wishbone Ash but still sounds up to date. Martin Turner and his bandmates have written some great songs and with twin lead guitars, harmony vocals and Turner's signature basslines this is an excellent album and well worth waiting for (the band in various line-ups had been together for 10 years before they recorded any new material). There was a change of personnel just as the album was in the pre production stage, with Ray Hatfield departing and new guitarist Misha Nikolic re-recording Ray's parts on two songs and adding classical guitar to a third.

Track by Track commentary:

The Big Bang (Overture): A short, spacey sounding instrumental reminiscent of the beginning of Pink Floyd's Echoes.

The Beauty Of Chaos: Another instrumental, which would fit nicely on the Wishbone Ash album Nouveau Calls. It has acoustic guitar, Hank Marvin style lead guitar and some "chaotic" electric guitar lines.

Written In The Stars: A heavy riff leads into some lovely harmony vocals, great soloing and a nice bit of Eastern style guitar at the close from Misha Nikolic.

Lovers: This has a 1960s feel, a bit Roy Orbison, quite a commercial sound, let down a little by weak vocals.

Vapour Trail: Probably the most progressive song on the album, lovely harmony vocals again and finishing off with a guitar solo that reminds me of Sometime World on Argus. A candidate for best track on the album.

The Lonely Star: Another instrumental, laid back and a bit like Lullaby from the Pilgrimage album.

For My Lady: This one has a medieval feel to it. Different rhythms in the verse and chorus. The verse sounds a bit like The Police. Nice guitar at the end.

Pretty Little Girls: If this was a singles band, Pretty Little Girls would HAVE to be the single off the album. A catchy hook, memorable chorus, bouncing bassline and Bowie-esq vocals. The subject matter is daughters who grow up too quickly. Another candidate for best song on the album.

Falling Sands: Despite being credited as a band composition, this one has Ray Hatfield's fingerprints all over it, as anyone who has heard his solo albums would realise. A lovely ballad with a superb guitar solo. My third candidate for best song.

Mystify Me: The only song where Martin Turner has no songwriting credit or joint credit, Mystify Me is a Ray Hatfield composition which had already been released on his solo album At The Drop Of A Hat. Another song with a singalong chorus. The subject matter here is reincarnation.

Interstellar Rockstar: Wishbone Ash meets Barclay James Harvest and Ziggy Stardust. A great closing track and unlike any other song on the album. Nice bit of classical guitar at the beginning and excellent twin lead guitar at the end.

In conclusion, if you like the 1970s output of Wishbone Ash you will love this album. I hope it's not another 10 years before this band release another one.

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Posted Thursday, February 14, 2019 | Review Permalink

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