Asia - 'XXX' (Frontiers Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Rob Watkins   
Monday, 18 June 2012 04:00

Asia_XXX'XXX' is an incredibly apt title for this latest album from Asia, a band (or should I use the word supergroup as this collective of musicians were the very first ones to be tagged with the particular label way back in 1982) now celebrating three decades since their eponymous debut album hit the Billboard charts at No.1.  Said album also included the global chart smash 'Heat Of The Moment' a song that's as relevant today as it was back in '82 and thirty years later here in 2012, the original line up of the band unleash a collection of songs that could be described as their best since that golden period.

 

An instant sense of class pervades 'XXX' and within the first few bars of opening track 'Tomorrow The World' lulled in by Geoff Downes remarkable keyboard work, the incredible vocal harmonies kick in on a tune which wouldn't have gone a miss on any of the band's early multi platinum releases.  The quality of songwriting continues into 'Bury Me In Willow' another tune with all the classic elements essential for a top notch Asia track, whilst 'No Religion' revolves around Downes wondrous keyboard progressions and John Wetton's beautifully delivered passionate vocal all wrapped around Carl Palmer's distinctive beats and Steve Howe's perfectly amazing guitar licks, all wrapped up in the well crafted production courtesy of Mike Paxman who also worked on the band's previous offering 'Omega'.

 

As the opus progresses track by track the echoes of the past in terms of sound and song structure is quite obvious, especially on songs like 'Faithful' and 'I Know How You Feel, with the latter's keyboard driven hook as catchy and memorable as any slice of music from their back catalogue although maybe the choral arrangements do not hit same the same stellar heights that aficionados of the group would expect.  And on that note first single 'Face On The Bridge' rears it's head and again whilst instrumentally perfect I can't help but feel the chorus lacks (and I use the term "lacks" with heavy heart) that all essential killer hook.  It simply isn't as strong a tune as I'd hope for on an Asia single but I must say it is still an incredibly well performed and very likeable little ditty 'Al Gatto Nero' though does come up trumps on the melodic harmonies that Asia have become rather infamous for, and the release concludes with the riff driven rock of 'Judas' and the delicious piano lament of 'Ghost Of A Chance', the latter ably assisted by the beautiful guitar melodies of Howe, that mix down to give Asia a feel of total originality, something  that is an extremely rare occurrence in this modern musical age.

 

Raise your glasses and celebrate XXX years of Asia with 'XXX'.

 

http://originalasia.com/

 

to pick up your copy of 'XXX (Limited CD+DVD)' - CLICK HERE