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Wigwam - Titans Wheel CD (album) cover

TITANS WHEEL

Wigwam

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.06 | 31 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Until this week I hadn't ever listened to this latter-day WIGWAM studio album (with very unfavourable reception generally), while I have given a merciless one-star rating to the last album Some Several Moons (2005), which to my surprise has a slightly better reception. Perhaps I should re-evaluate it too, but it's pretty clear that the 68-minute Titans Wheel is much more rewarding to me. (I might give even three stars, if this wasn't a Prog site.)

Sure, it more or less lacks what made Nuclear Nightclub (1975) a classic. [Please note that IMHO any comparisons to the proper Prog-era Wigwam featuring Pekka Pohjola and Jukka Gustavson would be completely unfair.] There are no timelessly strong melodies or exciting hooks, no adventurous arrangements, no highly memorable songs that really move you. Titans Wheel is a fairly professionally done (very thinly prog-flavoured) rock album by seasoned musicians. The sound itself is really not that bad. Only the drummer Jari Kettunen belongs to the younger generation; songwriters Jim Pembroke and Rekku Rechardt (g) are accompanied also by Måns Groundstroem (b) and Esa Kotilainen (keyb), all central figures of the 70's Finn-Prog scene. Actually I'd say sonically the weakest link here is the frontman Pembroke as a vocalist. As if he attempts to sound like Bob Dylan.

To some listeners the length itself is Titans Wheel's biggest fault. Well, one can always pick up the best and ignore the rest. Of the 13 songs I can pick up the ones that please me the most, whereas Some Several Moons only bored me from start to end, and I never actually listened to it twice... shame on me! Let's concentrate on the -- admittedly modest -- highlights:

The opener 'Remains To Be Seen' has good dynamic variety and some Beatles-like details; unfortunately Jimbo's vocals get slightly ugly at times, like on the whole album. Slow-tempo 'Titans Wheel' has a deep atmosphere, and the speech parts can be compared to some FISH moments. The electric guitar solo is short but great. Yeah, perhaps even the best song. 'Bitesize' has a great bass sound which gives it a place in top five. 'Greatfield' would be a prog-pop song that improves upon repeated listenings, but sadly it features a chorus with the ugly Dylan mockery. 'Win Your Love': a love ballad, decent enough. The vocally slightly speech-oriented 'The Lost Lizard King' feels like a sequel to the title track. 'To the Other Side' is quite good. I'd say this isn't as bad an album as its common reception suggests. In fact also Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose, 1976, does very little to me. This is clearly the same band offering not-so-radically-different stuff.

Matti | 2/5 |

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