Wishbone Ash - Sometime World: An MCA Travelogue
This new double disc Wishbone Ash compilation is very much an album of two halves: in the simplest of terms, disc one is chock full of proggy greatness, and disc two is dull-as-ditch-water rock meanderings. The better half covers from the very beginning up until Wishbone Four and the associated live album Live Dates and includes a healthy dose from the seminal Argus album. Opening with the overtly bluesy 'Blind Eye', Wishbone Ash saunter through a string of laid back prog numbers with effortless style; 'Phoenix' and 'The Pilgrim' stand out as lessons in how to construct wonderfully chilled and truly progressive tracks that do not feel like the ten minutes they really are.
Andy Powell and Ted Turner were pioneers of the twin guitar sound back in the '70s, and by the time we reach 'Warrior' and ‘Throw Down The Sword’ it is easy to hear why; the guitar work is deceptively complex and enthralling, a real pleasure to hear the pair weave their magic into great riffs and beautiful harmonies.
The second half however slips all too easily from easy-going to lethargic as the relationships strain and the ideas dry up. Even as early as 'Lorelei' and 'Mother Of Pearl' from the New England album the descent into anonymous AOR mediocrity has gathered pace, leaving the rest of this collection to drift off into an unremarkable haze of bland rock. Even the desperate addition of John Wetton for 1981's album Number The Brave (the last represented here) fails to lift the mood; if anything, the cheesiness of its two offerings, especially the Wetton-penned 'That's That' tarnish the legacy further.
This is an interesting and worthwhile collection on the whole, highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly sides of Wishbone Ash; but mainly it proves that Argus still remains the essential Wishbone Ash purchase.