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Silver or Gold?,
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This review is from: Xxx [Limited Cd+dvd] (Audio CD)
The prolific John Wetton and Steve Howe release yet another new album. This time its the third release by the original Asia linup since reforming in 2007. The DVD makes much of the fact that the band line up is the same as it was 30 years ago drawing parallel with U2 (who I cannot abide!), without so much as a mention of xx years with John Payne and Geoff Downes minding the shop (with occasional brief visits from Steve Howe).
Anyway, with no more suitable one line titles starting and ending with 'A' (I guess they couldn't use 'Abba' !) we're now just left with three 'X's.
A sublime intro takes us into the stoking beat of 'Tomorrow the world' and you know instantly that you're listening to another Asia album. A very strong track to kick off with. 'Bury me in willow' comes next and is lyrically not an area much explored on any songs I have heard. 'No Religion' is another power track co-written this time with Howe. 'Faithful' is track 4 and it's one of those instantly catchy melodies that Asia do so well (Check out the wonderful 'I'm still the same' from 'Omega' for another example where they successfully recreate the classic ELO sound). The DVD talks about an acoustic version of this song being included on the CD but strangely it isn't. 'I know how you feel' is a pleasant song and this really does have a (bonus track) as an acoustic version. 'Face on the bridge' is the single from the album and comes with an exotic video on the DVD. Great song. 'Al gatto Nero' has John singing 'question and answer' phrases in a different pitch so sounds almost like two singers. Not sure what 'Al gatto Nero' is - an Italian restaurant perhaps? 'Judas' follows next and is another one co-written with Howe. It's OK. The last two tracks are my favourites - 'Reno (Silver and Gold)' is billed as a bonus track, but what a bonus ! An unusual sound for Asia but very effective. Finally the beautiful ballad 'Ghost of a chance' closes the album (with the exception of the acoustic version of 'I know how you feel'). Howe's guitar sweetens this track and creates a mellow ending to 'XXX'. Perhaps a final anthemic track might have provided the better closer in the same way that 'An extraordinary day' did on the classic 'Phoenix' album.
Four stars from me. Asia are great and will always be a 'must have' purchase, but this album doesn't quite make the magic five.
(...and the 'Making of' DVD feature lasts for 20 minutes).
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Initial post: 17 Sep 2012 12:59:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Sep 2012 13:00:25 BDT
Another excellent review from 'stevect' who is fast becoming my favourite reviewer on this site - the reviews are so in tune with my own I feel like I should know him. Keep it up :)
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