At first you could be forgiven for thinking, is this just another English boy trying to play the Blues? And whilst essentially you would be correct, there is no doubt that for a debut album, Lincolnshire's Ash Wilson can certainly pull together an impressive set of musicians. This includes Bob Fridzema (King King) on keyboards and Roger Inness (Chaka Khan's band) on bass, while brother Phil takes care of the drums and production. 'Broken Machine' opens with 'Show Me How To Love You', a number soaked in the Deep South Blues style, complete with opening chain rattling percussion. The vocal is very strong, however towards the end the laid back feel seems to evaporate as everyone jumps in. Track two (the shortest on the album) 'World Gone Crazy' is a good little rock out number. The political lyrics do, in places, leave a bit to be desired, but a strong song nonetheless which, in places, reminds me of The Stranglers (although that could be just me). Next up is the Blues shuffle of 'Peace And Love', with its distorted effect on the vocals, it's a sad story of the blues of desperation (thank you Joey B) and it's a real grower upon repeated plays. Title track 'Broken Machine' is Blues Rock the way it should be, more upbeat, but with another sad story to tell, some great sounding guitar work, makes this one of the outstanding tracks on the CD.
I find it hard to listen to this style of electric guitar driven Blues Rock without making comparisons to one of my heroes Mr. Joe Bonamassa, who, without doubt is one of the best guitarists I have ever seen. I would find it hard to believe that Ash wasn't influenced by him for track five 'Words Of A Woman'. It has a great sound, with strong lyrics revolving around a woman's troubles when her husband leaves ("Does She Have To Start Again"). A great ballad with an excellent solo from Ash at the end, definitely my favourite song on the album. 'Maybe Out Of Time' would have been better named "Out Of Place" - even some nice guitar work can't really save this from feeling like a filler song and one that could have easily been off the final track list. 'The Hitcher' opens with a nice slow train rhythm, and accompanied with the Hammond organ, has a great feel to it, then when the first of two guitar solos kick in, it would appear to be the track that has everything, however in contrast to the initial clean solo, the second with its distorted effect, slightly outstays its welcome.
'Hold On Now' sounds like Ash's attempt to be an angry young man and confront his demons. Once again the guitar work is great, but his voice doesn't quite lend itself to this style as the song lacks melody. However, if a single is to be released from 'Broken Machine', my choice would be a slightly shorter version of track nine. 'Lonely Room' has an upbeat feel with downbeat lyrics, a great combination and one of the most commercial tracks on here. The album closes with 'Holding Hands', which again, reminds me of Mr. Bonamassa. It sounds a very personal song, dealing with trying to rekindle a long lost relationship, featuring a good guitar solo half way through - it's a ballad that once again needs repeated listens to fully appreciate, but is worth the effort, and is the song that brings 'Broken Machine' to its conclusion. To sum up, it's a good debut album, due to be released on Friday 21st April, and whilst in some places it sounds as if everyone is trying a bit too hard, surely the only way is up for Ash Wilson. Definitely one for the future.