Wishing Well is a hard rock band from Finland. Their 2016 debut album, ‘Chasing Rainbows’ was well received, and the band has just released the anticipated follow up ‘Rat Race’. The band displays a mix of many hard rock and metal styles, including elements of doom, power metal, classical, and 70s rock. The new album also includes Arto Teppo on the Hammond organ giving the band an almost Doors-like feel in places. We get a taste of what the band can do on the first track Wheeling And Dealing. Straight away the rock element comes through. The song has a folksy hard rock feel, framed by the soaring, melodic vocals of Rafael Castillo. This leads smoothly into Children Of Paradise, where we get to hear the organ sound. The rest f the sound has some glam rock elements shining through, and the pace is quite toe-tapping. The guitar solo stands out as does the children choir featured towards the end.
The album starts to pick up with the next track Sleepless Nights. There is a slight “fuzz” sound to the music which lends a dirty rock and roll feel. There is a real driven feel to the guitar on this song, and Anssi Korkiakoski’s toe-tapping solo is a highlight. The lyrical themes so far have been standard rock music themes; of struggle, love and being different. The band changes it up with Pilgrim Caravan. The track catches your attention with the sounds of Arabic Violin, and the overall sound has a grinding doom-influenced feel. The beat has a tribal, hip swaying feel and the whole song portrays the image of a Middle Eastern caravan well. The song really picks up towards the end with a rhythmic almost escalating feel. This song hooks you in, ready for the title track.
Rat Race keeps your attention with a stand out rolling drumbeat. Juha Kivikanto’s playing is the real highlight of this track, providing a beat to a fast paced pure rock and roll song. The vocals really get a work out on this track and we get a glimpse of the full range Castillo is capable of. This song is the stand out of the album, and is thoroughly enjoyable, causing one to sing along. The whole band really show their skills with this song and it works well. This leads well into Falling Out Of Love, which has a slow but hard quality that is intriguing. The themes are about heartbreak of course, but the song remains upbeat with a real ’70s rock feeling. There is a synth sound which is a bit jarring, but the ending really picks up with a good beat. So far the album has been a solid rock and roll experience with various elements to keep it interesting.
We get a small break from this with the easy listening instrumental A Little Dream. Classical acoustic guitar melodies are interspersed with the sounds of bird tweets. A little strange at first, but overall a very relaxing track. It almost seems like we are having an intermission and that the next act is coming up. We are eased into the next part of the album with the power ballad Grain Of Sand. This also has an easy listening sound that slowly builds. The organ really takes centre stage and the whole song has an epic feel. The lyrics are very much of redemption and religion, and one can’t help but feel they are listening to the song f a man being born again. The ending to this track really brings it home escalating that epic feel.
A ’splashy’ cymbal intro leads into a fuzzy, dirty rock sound on You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. This track has a “church” feel to it just like the previous track but the rock elements are definitely back. It’s the feel-good track of the album and is quite upbeat. Its a solid track that runs with the themes of redemption and salvation. The closing song, The Day Of Doom, finishes the record with a slightly darker, more driven tone. The bass playing of Rick Becker really takes flight here, blending a punkish element with the now familiar rocking pace. The themes of redemption appear again with apocalyptic overtones. Driven and upbeat, this ends the album on a high note. Overall, ‘Rat Race’ is a solid rock and roll album with a feel-good thread running through it. The band carefully blend varied genres and sounds to create a unique experience. The mix is a bit clean, and the lyrics can get a little preachy – but all of this is forgiven as the whole feel is that of a good fun time.
You can purchase a copy of ‘Rat Race’ HERE!