WISHING WELL – Chasing Rainbows (Inverse Records)
The secret of a great album is that it must be both open and beguiling; it must be easily accessible, to engage its audience, while forever holding something back so that repeated plays offer up more riches. And with ‘Chasing Rainbows’ Finnish band Wishing Well have achieved just that. The band’s nine-track debut is big and brash without ever becoming narcissistic, and contains a treasure trove of hooks, melodies and above all exquisitely-crafted songs, infused with the groove of Seventies’ classic rock whence, you might imagine, they took their name.
‘Chasing Rainbows’ revels in its authenticity, but still refuses to be easily pigeon-holed as vocalist Peter James Goodman, guitarist (and album bassist) Anssi Korkiakoski and drummer Rip Radioactive have thrown caution to the wind and blended a range of influences which sees their first-born cover a good deal of musical ground: the title track, for example, with its slide guitar bluster and impossibly infectious groove, is about as inviting as they come, while ‘Love Is Blind’ has a psychedelic swagger (and a fabulous splash of piano over the top). On the other hand, ‘Sacrifice’ is a menacing, tortured slow-burner and ‘Science Fiction’ is a fast-driving monster with a finger-knotting riff and a cleverly constructed solo. For those who want to walk in the shadow of the blues there’s the forlorn ‘I’ll Never Let You Go’ and the Maiden-esque ‘Sands Of Time’ has something for all of us with a fear of the dark. There’s no fillers on the album, and every song stands loud ‘n’ proud on its own two feet; and although much has been made of the fact that journeyman vocalist Graham Bonnet delivers a down to earth performance on the first single ‘Hippie Heart Gypsy Soul’ that’s more icing on the cake than a meal in itself. Even without the charismatic Mr B the song would have been a banquet.
Since recording the album Wishing Well have plugged the gap in their line-up with the addition of bassist Richard Becker, so it can only be a matter of time before world domination beckons. It’s only March, way too early to be talking about the album of the year, but surely, to misquote Marlon Brando, ‘Chasing Rainbows’ has gotta be a contender.
© John Tucker March 2016