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Wetton Downes Icon Frontiers Records
FRCD242
Produced By: John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes

Running Time: 46.19

Release Date: May 16

Released: EU JP

Musical Style: AOR

Links: Frontiers Records
90%
Songs: 87%
Sound: 95%
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.
The Bottom Line
The lush orchestration of the album will have long time Asia fans falling over themselves to lavish praise on the album, which I think is the main purpose of the album. I don't see this breaking into a big field outside established Asia fans, but with so many of them about, to reach even half of them would find this album rated a major success.
Discography
Wetton / Downes
Icon

Line Up
John Wetton: Vocals & Bass
John Mitchell: Guitars
Steve Christey: Drums
Geoffrey Downes: Keyboards

Essential for fans of:
Asia
Wetton/Downes
Track Listing
Let Me Go*
God Walks With Us*
I Stand Alone*
Meet Me At Midnight
Hey Josephine*
Far Away
Please Change Your Mind
Sleep Angel
Spread Your Wings
In The End*
--*Best Tracks


28/04/09: John - onenation_undergod@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
Great song writing, great instrumentation and the best singing by John Wetton in a long time. Every song is very good which is much different than some of John's solo albums. These two guys just make great songs.

One thing different - the lyrics are very strong. John is at a different place than he was 25 years ago and the lyrics reflect that. They are reflective, sensitive and straight forward. If you are an ASIA fan buy this album.

27/05/06: Dave M - djmayerfzr@hotmail.com
Rating: 80
Didn't like it at all, but the wife LOVES it(hence the 80 rating). We are both massive Wetton era Asia fans and bought every album as they came out. With Payne we only got Aqua(fair!) and Aura(surprisingly very very good) so couldn't wait for this but for me it's a bit of a wash out. Its just to laid back and safe. As I say the wife loves it and keeps playing it so maybe it will grow on me. By the way Freddy D.K.....how can you possibly compare it to any of the early Asia albums it is no-where near in the same league!!!!!!!!!

02/05/06: Chris X. Moloney - ChrisXMoloney@yahoo.com
Rating: 90
Glad to see these two masters together. There are enough strong tracks on this CD to make it a 90/100, however, the album as a whole is imperfect. It is exciting to think the original 4 Asia members are planning to tour this year. Asia was the apex of melodic rock, superb musicanship and musical pedigree. The Asia albums never get old. This CD does not match early Asia, but it worthy listening for Asia fans who will get a charge from hearing the famous Wetton/Downes combination.

28/01/06: SSGT Todd MichaeL Wiseman - airforcetodd@canada.com
Rating: 100
what can u say!! John Wetton has the most distintive vocals since geddy Lee and kevin cronin, tom petty etc....ICON is beyond gold its shining platinum !! the downer is the 2006 usa grammy awards are this week , same ole baloney the zombie masses call music, o well for true believers ASIA is back, word is carL paLmer now owns the asia title trademark rights and wont let john & geoff use it*
---------------------------Todd ohio univ

20/09/05: Ali - alistairc_2000@yahoo.co.uk
Rating: 95
My fave album of the year so far. I loved the first asia album but thought alpha and astra were not as good. So imagine my surprise listening to this album and finding they still had it. Simply superb. For the two dectractors, were you listening to the same album as me. Stand out track of album let me go.

07/08/05: Sid - striley05@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
Why isn't this under the Asia moniker? This is more Asia than whats being peddled as Asia these Days.is is the best material since Astra way back in 86.I guess the real issue is that John Wetton is the true voice of Asia and can't be matched or even substituted.No more PAYNEful Asia albums please, call them SidDownes and Payne.

08/07/05: Bob Gerszewski - bob@gerszewski.net
Rating: 95
A lot of the other reviewers here make great observations so I won't load this up with more to consider other than I LOVE the record. Yes, its mellow and atmospheric. But there are lovely melodies, the songs are so well written. John's singing is excellent. The keyboards, as usual...flawless. The guitar and drums are done well but never take over, perhaps as it should be. I am tremendously grateful Geoff and John created this record. Many of these songs could be arranged to more of a rock/power ballad style. Who knows what the future brings? Icon 2, will there be? More power rock songs? Thanks Geoff for signing the cd on the recent tour. I am just thrilled that we get an excellent Silent Nation album and then this. I appreciate this album more each time I listen to it. I have most Asia releases, many Wetton releases, and I must say, this is defintiely in the top tier of all those releases put together. Asia / Wetton fans, enjoy.

01/07/05: Mark - mark@wyse583.freeserve.co.uk
Rating: 5
Agree with GreatHeart - this is not very good. Not recommended !!!!

10/06/05: Almir Fuschini - almirfus@terra.com.br
Rating: 92
An album written with class. Is that possible? Oh yes. This guys proved it. What a nice gem among so much crap released this year of 2005.
If "Let Me Go" is not one of the 5 best songs of the year then I'll jump from a bridge!!!
"God Walks With Us" have moments that reminds me "Elton's Song" from the album THE FOX from Sir Elton in the early 80's. Beautifull. "I Stand Alone" is one of the best of the album.
"Met Me At Midnight" is pure emotion in a shape of a song. It should run for 6+ minutes or more. It's too short unfortunatly. The rest of the album follows the same mood. There's no true uptempo song but the high class remains.

I'm not an Asia fan but if their last had at least half of overall quality of this one, I'd buy it for sure.
The bottom line is that if you intend to buy only the best cds of 2005 this is definetly a must.

08/06/05: Andrew Lockwood - drewbylockwood@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
Wetton's best at least since Battle Lines/Voicemale and probably since ALPHA--this record is the culmination of the last (?) songwriting phase of his career, in which he's chosen to turn inward for self-examination and reach outward toward Providence. Yes, as one reviewer noted some of the couplets are trite and some cliches too tired, but unlike some of his solo work, the simplicity of lyrics grows on me with repeated listens, partly I think because they're rescued by some lyrical gems, mostly because the beauty of their meaning is matched by the beauty of the music--kudos to Geoff Downes and Mike Stone. "In The End" and "God Walks With Us" are songs for the ages, to me those songs are what church should be like.

ASIA and ALPHA caught thunder and lightning in a bottle, they're beautiful records. ICON is more of an album--a thematic, cohesive whole--than either. It's the sound of two weary old heroes reuniting after the fighting is long over, not to fight again but to recollect, laugh, share their wisdom, and pray that in the next world some of what's learned may be carried forward in our souls.
Melodies (and textures) new intertwine with echoes of melodies owned, here a hint of "Book Of Saturday," there a bit of "Daylight," and "Starless"... Then, in the fitting closer, a new voice, one of an angel singing of The End, but also of The Return, her voice a salve, even, for the ache in John Wetton's impassioned pleas, prayers, and contemplations.
I knew after a couple of listens that I will love this record for the rest of my life. I'm certain many others will be similarly moved.

04/06/05: John Bianco - jbianco9@suscom.net
Rating: 91
After repeated listening and further consideration, I felt that it was appropriate to revise my previous rating of Icon. The more I listen to this disc, the more I am moved by it. 91 is where I believe it should be. By my 100th listen, who knows. I am just so happy that John and Geoffrey have given us this work to consider and debate for the rest of our lives.

28/05/05: John - jbianco9@suscom.net
Rating: 88
More mellow than I expected. Basically a synergy of Geoffrey's New Dance Orchestra and John's Rock of Faith, both of which I enjoy. John Mitchell is an excellent guitarist but doesn't get to shine as much as I would have liked. Steve Christy provides solid but muted drums, which is what this project required. Nice to hear Hugh, Ian and Annie added to the mix. Geoff's keyboards are very atmospheric and layered with some very nice piano in several spots. John's voice sounds solid and strong. This recording will either be loved or hated. It has always been that way with John/Geoff/ASIA. Ya just ain't gonna please everybody. These guys have been through a lot over the years and I have enjoyed every step of the way. This is a sweeping, lush recording. The lyrics are a bit simple at times, but on a whole, I'm luv'in it. Don't miss ASIA live this summer. Payne, Slade and Govan are very worthy bandmates of Geoffrey Downes and they put on one heck of a show.

28/05/05: Pete Savin - savin11@sbcglobal.net
Rating: 90
Great album. Overall a mellow CD, but it has a couple of rockers in Let Me Go - a hit if radio ever got hold of it (dream on) - and Hey Josephine. Meet me at Midnight, clocking in at about 2 1/2 minutes, may very well be the most beautiful song Wetton/Downes have ever written. Simple, with nothing but a six-string and very light keys in the background, it delivers with an emotion that many people felt Asia songs were always missing.
Top-notch production, great song-writing, incredible keys from Geoff that we have come to expect, highlight this album. However, the most pleasant surprise is Wetton's vocals. I've always enjoyed John's voice, but 25 years after Asia exploded onto the scene, John obviously has gathered a vast collection of experiences, both professional and personal. It's great to hear hints of these experiences in his delivery. If there is something that separates this CD from other Wetton/Downes recordings, it would be the emotional punch most of these songs deliver. Classy CD.

22/05/05: GreatHeart - GreatMan@Hotmail.com
Rating: 3
Unemotional, uncheerful, boring, tiresome, great vocals.

I love mellow songs, but i don't like this album @ all!

Avoid.

22/05/05: Darren Preece - dpreece11@btdigitaltv.com
Rating: 88
A great CD and it oozes class from start to finish, excellent song arrangements, Wettons vocal talents and Mr Downes as ever gives us layers and layers of apnospheric keyboard quality...

Highly reccommended

20/05/05: Daniel - daniellacalle@canal21.com
Rating: 90
Can someone explain to me why this record has not been released under the Asia moniker?. I know, I know, all the reasons are well documented... but the truth is that this is more Asia than anything theyhave released since Alpha (and I include the dreadful Astra and the utter disappointment of Silent Nation). So I see a trand here. Geoff Downes makes uninspired records with John Payne, John Wetton makes solo records that make Peter Cetera seem cutting edge, then both get together and they make this perfectly good, well-written, melodic, powerful record that will delight old and new fans. It has Wetton ballads, but it doesn't sound like Christopher Cross on a gloomy day, it has pomp-mid-tempo rockers but it doesn't sound as overblown and OTT as John Payne's semiopera choruses. So, my opinion is this record is the best these two great musicians have recorded since Alpha, it shows confidence, strength and power, it's close to their heyday standard and would have been a 100% if the drummer and guitarist were up to the level of the songs, and if Geoff Downes had added a few small solos instead of just adding layers of atmospheric synths. Next time, get Carl Palmer or Steve Howe or someone that can be compared to Wetton and Downes, and call it Asia. Best tracks? God Walks With Us (despite the lame lyrics), the beautiful In The End and I Stand Alone.

20/05/05: Dan MacDonald - dan_macDonald@hotmail.com
Rating: 98
Wow what a great album ,pretty mellow with only a few uptempo tracks but this doesn't hinder the album 'cause Asia (mm errrr aah )Icon are one of the bands whose mellow side are as good as if not better than their heavier side. Any old Asia fans like myself ,get ready for a serious trip down memory lane.Just full of beautifully arranged hooks & nuances.Do yourself a favour & get it ,be prepared for a big emotional ride !

19/05/05: TIM (2) - Tim.t.robertson@ericsson.com
Rating: 93
Now this is what 2005 needed, a real killer disc - like the Pride of Lions was in 2004. So far I've enjoyed the likes of Heartland, Starbreaker, Hartmann etc but none have really blown me away. This does. It's very mellow indeed, but contains some of the most incredible musical interludes and solos I've every heard on an album. It's not too far from Wetton's solo stuff, but is better and more commercially appealing than Asia's last album. My fave track changes each time I listen to it, but for sure there isn't a filler. The best album of 2005 so far.

19/05/05: Freddy De Keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
This is the REAL thing, ladies and gentlemen.
After the crap of Styx and HS, finally a BRILLIANT record !
Not that heavy, but so good and smooth !
A fantastic mix of AOR and progressive stuff.
Maybe just below the Asia classics, but damn close !
RECOMMENDED !!!!!!

18/05/05: Anders Hg - azia18@hotmail.com
Rating: 1
The Best cd. 05


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