|Wetton Downes Icon||Frontiers Records|
Some thought it might never happen again, but former Asia vocalist John Wetton and fellow Asia founding member Geoffrey Downes (keyboards) have teamed again for what is their second album together outside of the band they made legendary.|
In recent times I have been left somewhat disappointed by John Wettons' solo output, but impressed with the most recent Asia album.
I had no doubt that this would be a classy album and I believe Asia fans will agree it certainly is.
As expected, this is a lush slice of Asia-esque pop/AOR, complete with complex arrangements, haunting vocals and intelligent compositions.
I was a little surprised at how mellow the overall album is. Only a few tracks could be classed as uptempo, but the quality and sound is unquestionably good.
Icon's main appeal is the aura that surrounds the music. There is a continuous theme provided by the voice of Wetton and the layered keyboards of Downes throughout the album that gel the songs together.
The opening track Let Me Go (which includes an extended intro) is probably the pick of the album, although there are other strong contenders. This is an uptempo pop rocker which more or less defines what made Asia great – big pompous arrangements and memorable choruses, wrapped up in an even mix of guitars and keyboards.
God Walks With Us features a more sparse arrangement and a strong Wetton lead vocal. Orchestration combines with acoustic and electric guitars to make a compelling musical experience.
I Stand Alone is a little more dramatic, while the very short Meet Me At Midnight again mixes orchestration with an acoustic presentation.
Hey Josephine sees the duo recreate the early radio friendly pop days of Asia on what I think will be an instant favourite with many.
The rest of the album continues as it started, but perhaps a little mellower in pace.
The closing track In The End is a nice sentimental track that features the vocals of Annie Haslam during the chorus, which makes a nice addition to the album.
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