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Wigwam - Light Ages CD (album) cover

LIGHT AGES

Wigwam

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.81 | 26 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
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.)

Matti | 3/5 |

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