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Wishbone Ash - No Smoke Without Fire CD (album) cover


Wishbone Ash


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3.49 | 100 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Firing on all cylinders

After the decent but uncharacteristically laid back "Front page news", Wishbone Ash re- united with original producer Derek Lawrence for "No smoke without fire". The results are immediately apparent on the opening "You see red" with the jamming twin guitars back where they belong, right up front. The pace of the song is not overtly quick, but it has a driving basis while telling a troubling tale of domestic violence.

The troubled themes continue throughout the album, with the exception of the closing song "The way of the world", which finally evokes optimism. Musically however, this is far from a dark album. There are softer songs, such as the brief "Leaf and stream" like "Ships in the sky", but as a whole, this is a far more traditional Ash album than those which preceded it.

Things don't always work as well as they might, with the 7 minute "Stand and deliver" being something of a curate's egg. It has some fine guitar work, but the main hook is weak and inadequate. We are quickly back on track though with "Anger in harmony", which features a striking change of tempo midway to play out with a spirited twin guitar jam. "Like a child" features some of the strongest harmonies and one of the finest melodies the band has delivered in a long time, a real overlooked gem.

The closing 9˝minute "The way of the world" is very much a "Time was, part 2". The slower acoustic opening vocal section eventually gives way to a lengthy upbeat guitar jam.

It is undoubtedly significant that the return of Derek Lawrence's to the producer's chair coincided with what is Wishbone Ash's finest album since "Argus". In many ways this is in fact the belated follow up to that magnificent album. While "No smoke without fire" is not quite of the same standard, it is an unjustly forgotten album in the band's back pages.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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