"Chasing Rainbows" - Ray Wilson’s new album reviewed by Frank Rogers.
Like many I guess, my first exposure to the work of Ray Wilson was when he joined Genesis for the Calling All Stations album, and I guess as with some other views, some liked it a lot and some disliked it. For me it was a Genesis release and so it had to be bought. I heard the album a few times and I saw the band at the M E N Arena in Manchester. But that album (Calling All Stations) never became one of my favourites although recently I have found myself going back to it.
It was likewise with my first exposure to Ray’s solo material, I remember giving some of his material a listen and sadly it didn’t do it for me. So, sorry but I kind of parked Ray’s solo material and never went back to it.
But that was a long time ago a lot of time has passed since then and recently I was presented with a copy of Ray’s new album to listen to . It was that long ago that I couldn’t even remember what Ray’s solo stuff sounded like, I just vaguely remembered it being on the heavier side. , so I came to this album as pretty much a blank canvas.
Anyway, in to the trusted car sound system the disc went and straight away with the first track I was pleasantly surprised and as the album progressed I found myself really liking it. It wasn’t the heavy stuff I vaguely remembered it was certainly very listenable and I had the album in the car for about a week and listened to it several times and even my teenaged kids said, “that’s ok, that is”.
I went back and had a listen to some of Ray’s other albums; The Next Best Thing and Stiltskin, and if I am honest again, they weren’t my thing but this current album definitely I would put on my “to buy” list. I also gave a thorough listen to the Genesis v Stiltskin collection. The Stiltskin component; Unfulfilment, I quite enjoyed but the Ray Wilson doing Genesis didn’t do it for me.
I guess when Ray took over from Phil Collins there was a massive expectation but for this material there is no such expectation and so Chasing Rainbows can be judged on its own merits. Compared to the previous works, the first thing that hit me straight away was that musically, this is a much more relaxed approach. The first track on the album; Take It Slow is definitely my favourite from the album. For me, the harshness of Ray’s voices didn’t suit Genesis but it fits like a glove here. I like the up beat second track; Easier That Way and the next one is a good track too and the other track that impressed me was Wait For Better Days.
Over all, the album is a really good listen and it is certainly mellow when compared to some of Ray’s previous work. The guitar work allowed me to listen rather than just hear. I would certainly recommend this album as one to add to the collection as I have done.