WISHING WELL – Rat Race (2018)
We were very pleased at this blog with Finland’s WISHING WELL debut album. Now the band are back with a new CD titled “Rat Race” (released today) and some line-up changes. And when you change your lead vocalist you may lose you may lose identity, but not for Wishing Well: their love for classic hard rock remain intact.
“Rat Race” is a logical follow up for the band’s first album, but here we have a new vocalist behind the mic. Well, let me tell you he fits like a glove. His vocal timbre is reminiscent of Ian Gillan, and Wishing Well loves Deep Purple song-wise.
Another valuable addition is Hammond organ player Arto Teppo. His presence all over the album is constant, even providing some juicy solos. This guy really has good taste because the Hammond is a dangerous instrument if not properly arranged, and it’s easy to saturate a song with it. He never does here.
The man at charge however is guitarist Anssi Korkiakoski (also the manager by the way). All songs were penned by him, busy guy to say the least. He knows how to write a classic rock song for sure.
As you already suspect, Wishing Well could be best described as the Finnish answer to classic Rainbow, but there’s more in the boiling pot.
Korkiakoski is definitely influenced by a certain Ritchie Blackmore listening to his guitar playing and especially the solos. He’s not flashy, all the time at the service of the song, as said, giving the keyboards room to fly creating a great atmosphere.
After the strong openers ‘Wheeling And Dealing’ (with a great Rainbow-like feel) and ‘Children Of Paradise’ (much more melodic akin Deep Purple circa 1985), ‘Pilgrim Caravan’ has a different vibe and pace to it, there is also a nice and spooky violin accompanying this song which has some Eastern vibes. Really well done.
During title track ‘Rat Race’, Teppo gets all the room to showcase his talents with the timeless Hammond B3. The vocals here sound a lot like Graham Bonnet. Guess what? Wishing Well recently supported Bonnet at his Scandinavian tour.
‘Falling Out Of Love’ is more ‘updated’, but even here the hazy synths makes you think about a Seventies pub. Next we have the very nice ‘A Little Dream’, a short instrumental with Spanish guitar and latin percussion, before the band delivers the ballad of the album ‘Grain Of Sand’. Of course, it’s not the kind of ‘power ballad’, but more in tune with the ones recorded by Purple or even Judas Priest in the late Seventies.
More Jon Lord-like lovely keyboards drive ‘You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down’ a midtempo rocker with Deep Purple on it but also Uriah Heep, while closer ‘The Day Of Doom’ is really properly titled, because its darker riffs pay homage to Black Sabbath.
You can call it revival, you can call it influence, you can call it copy-cat, but Wishing Well brings back like few the classic sounds / melodies of Rainbow, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, etc, all done with quality and class.
I can see why Doggie White will sing for the band during their next European tour. These guys are good, very good.
01. Wheeling And Dealing
02. Children Of Paradise
03. Sleepless Nights
04. Pilgrim Caravan
05. Rat Race
06. Falling Out Of Love
07. A Little Dream
08. Grain Of Sand
09. You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down
10. The Day Of Doom
Rafael Castillo – vocals
Anssi Korkiakoski – guitars
Arto Teppo – keyboards
Rick Becker – bass
Juha Kivikanto – drums
BUY IT !