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Wigwam - Light Ages CD (album) cover



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4 stars Wigwams first comeback album! It sounds like old Wigwam, perhaps little bit harder and stronger and Rekku is in a very good shape! There is some old songs with like excellent Talking brought me here, Friend fron the fields and No new games. Those version are brilliant! Rekku shines on guitar! And new songs are good, too, like Borders to be grossed, Absalom and Skyscraper. This is very relaxing Wigwam album, they have good time and you can hear it. I saw Wigwam on tour after publishing this album and band were fantastic on live. Sad that this lineup didn´t last very long and band broke up for few years.
Report this review (#22831)
Posted Wednesday, January 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Whether intentional or not, the title of the album is actually a very good indicator of what to expect. Back after 16 years, Light Ages essentially sees Wigwam continuing on the same path they left off many years ago. Obviously, Ronnie Österberg isn't here anymore, which is a shame, and Mikko Rintanen had replaced Hessu Hietanen on keyboards, but apart from that, there are not many changes to their overall sound. Sure, the album is quite possibly the "lightest" Wigwam album in many ways, the whole band seems relaxed, and full of "spirit", so to speak. The album has four old Wigwam songs with new versions, and nine totally new tracks. While I thoroughly enjoyed the new versions (especially Tombstone Valentine), I still think those were more or less pointless. I would've preferred to hear completely new material, but I guess we don't live in an ideal world, eh? Some of the new compositions have a slight AOR-ish twist to them (not exactly my cup of tea), but for the most part, this is good old Wigwam playing their very own "deep pop". Mikko Rintanen on keyboards fits the band nicely, and offers some very tasty keyboard solos during the album. Rekku Rechardt - well, no need to mention him at all, he's always superb! Absalom is a downright Wigwam classic nowadays - and for good reason. A couple of the tracks sound a tad uninspired, namely False Alarm and possibly Pleasure Street, but that's just a minor complaint. Overall, Light Ages is surely a good album. While it doesn't reach the level of their masterpieces, it's still a very worthy effort, and brings a smile to my face everytime I hear it. That's all what matters, right?
Report this review (#22832)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Wigwam's reunion from the 90's gathered together the three living members of the "Nuclear Nightclub" personnel. Drums are played by JAN NOPONEN, and MIKKO RINTANEN paints some light soundscapes with the keyboards, leaving still piano for the singer and main composer. This album continues the "less-artsy" evolvement of the band, and the result is professional adult oriented pop rock with some vintage features, like the vinyl's sound mimic in the start. The feeling is quite relaxed and positive, and the old days are being remembered with new performances of "Tombstone Valentine" and "Friend from The Fields", thus these don't bring much new content to these songs. "Absalom" is the longest track here, and the melody truly reminds of the classic hey day of this band, and it is repeated hypnotically, letting it grow with patience. The compositions done by both PEKKA RECHARDT and JIM PEMBROKE are clearly best here. Though I'm not very fond of this album, I would suggest the fans of "Nuclear Nightclub" to give it a listen, and also if peaceful slightly artistic AOR is your cup of tea, please take a sip of this!
Report this review (#22833)
Posted Saturday, April 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Light Ages was Wigwam's return to the fold after a long hiatus lasting for 16 years. Lots had happened in the meantime, both in band members' lives and in music in general. In 1977, when Dark Album came out, prog was already out and punk in. Neo-prog had come and gone in the 80s, and in 1993 the king of the hill was grunge. Still, Wigwam mainly stuck to their guns and produced another of those 'deep pop' albums of the Pembroke led era.

When one takes a closer look at Light Ages, the most noticeable aspect is the absence of Ronnie Österberg (R.I.P!). The second thing one might concentrate is the slick production and redone versions of some old Wigwam & Pembroke solo tunes. In fact, it's a sad indication of the state of things when the rehashed old songs are best that Light Ages can offer. All the other songs are just quite unmemorable, and to be frank, too slick for their own good. There's not really an angle or edge to hold on, the whole albums is just too smooth. While I do enjoy the new versions of the old songs, I still prefer the original old recordings.

The musicianship on the album is top notch, nothing to complain there. Rekku gives us several good solos, and Mikko Rintanen on keyboards handles his job well. Jimbo and Mĺsse do exactly what is expected. The only letdown is Jan Noponen with his generic drumming. Österberg wasn't exactly a very technical drummer, but his style was always his own, recognizable, and gave a certain touch to the music. Noponen clearly doesn't have that quality.

To sum it up: Few good new songs (Absalom), and the remakes are nice. It's only the slick, anonymous production and overall genericness that make this album quite forgettable and mundane. 2 stars.

Report this review (#280741)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars After making three studio albums in 1975-77 (the first one, Nuclear Nightclub, being highly succesful) WIGWAM had to call it a day in sad feelings. The next decade wasn't happy for the old Finnish prog legends in general. There was a group called Filthy Rich featuring Jim Pembroke and other seasoned prog musicians, but they collapsed before managing to record an album.

The first step towards the comeback of Wigwam was taken in a gig of Filthy Rich in the late 80's: guitarist Rekku Rechardt was invited to climb on the stage during 'Grass for Blades' in the encore. In 1991 Provinssirock, one of the biggest Finnish rock festivals, succeeded in getting the legendary band on the stage. The reception was encouraging and they continued touring. But it all was only about the old nostalgia; everyone understood that something new had to be done, too. The first member to leave was keyboardist Heikki "Pedro" Hietanen who was replaced by Mikko Rintanen. He in particular thought that it's the old classic stuff that the audience wants. while Pembroke and Rechardt preferred to move on.

There are several renditions of old tracks (from Wigwam or Jim Pembroke's solo material) on this album. In a way, Light Ages was more like a document of things that had to be preserved than a brand new studio album, the drummer Jan Noponen has said (the original Wigwam drummer Ronnie Österberg had committed suicide in 1980). According to Noponen, some excellent new compositions were left out, as the album was made with safety. Another criticized thing was the rather 80's-sounding production of T. T. Oksala. For the contents, Light Ages is quite uncoherent and uneven, and not very progressive.

'Borders to Be Crossed' and 'Pleasure Street' are throwaway American-style rock polished with saxophones, and Rechardt's old composition is given a rock'n'roll treatment on 'Skyscraper' . Of the recycled songs, 'No New Games' originating from Pembroke's second album and 'Friend from the Fields' (a.k.a. 'Marverly Skimmer' from Being) are more worthy that the other two.

Some new tracks dated from the Filthy Rich times, such as 'Talking Brought Me Here' to which Mats Huldén wrote lyrics based on a zulu folktale. The best new songs are written by Rechardt: 'Absalom' and 'The Next Breakfast'' both resemble the mid-seventies stuff to a suitable degree. Atmospheric 'Crystal Ball' features a nice, hazy synth riff, and 'Planetstar' has a strong, relaxed feeling.

Considering the complete Wigwam discography, this album is clearly among the least essential ones, but I feel more sympathy for it than for the last two studio albums. 2˝ stars rounded up.

(I wrote this with my book script in front of me, which explains the large amount of background information.)

Report this review (#1601297)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2016 | Review Permalink

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