Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Album Review: Wayward Sons - Ghosts Of Yet To Come

The world is a small place, getting smaller all the time. It's difficult to find any space that hasn't already been filled, occupied, or mined. Even in the world of music, practically everything that can be done has been done, which leaves a lot of newer bands in the unfortunate position of having to find a way to carve out their own identity from a quarry already hollowed out. Wayward Sons are in that unenviable position. They play the kind of rock and roll that many bands have tried to resurrect, but they do it with a name that is all too close to Rival Sons, who are one of the bigger names in that very area. Is the potential for confusion intentional? I have no idea, but it is a bit distracting, I will admit.

"Alive" kicks off the record, and does so with an even more direct comparison; Black Country Communion. The bluesy riff has the same swagger as that band, but it's the vocals where the similarity is unavoidable. Toby Jepsen sounds remarkably like Glenn Hughes, which is something that can be a blessing or a curse. Glenn has one of the most recognizable voices out there, so sounding like him is good. But sounding so much like someone else could also lead people to ask "why don't I just listen to Glenn instead?"

"Until The End" is a great song, with an arpeggiated riff that is just different enough to stand out, and the hook of the song fits right in the classic rock mold, but hits you with a bit of a punch. That's the kind of song that can help a band like this stand out, and not "Ghost", which is ok, but sounds far too much like a Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders outtake. So much classic rock has been written, and the looming influences are so strong, that it's often difficult to avoid sounding like the legends.

The record is a bit of a half and half proposition. There are tracks that are excellent classic sounding rock, which in a weak year for vintage sounding music are some of the better efforts I've heard. But the other half of the record isn't as well written, and goes through the motions too much for the record as a whole to be sterling. "Crush" is one of those examples, a song that doesn't have a sharp enough riff, and really never builds to a chorus at all. I expect more from this kind of music, even if it would have been fine in 1977.

Overall, "Ghosts Of Yet To Come" is a solid record that could, and probably should, be far better. Classic rock can be tricky to get right, and Wayward Sons show they can do it, but they don't come through often enough for me to say this album is something you need to hear. It's good enough, but that's about it.

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