This is the bumper edition of my column. I am skipping out of a column next week as I am getting married this Saturday and the inevitable honeymoon follows on Tuesday. We have reserved Sunday for a jam at a local tavern as one does for all the musos who are attending. I even went as far as to buy a black Takamini acoustic for the occasion. Anyway enough excuses to the reviews we go.
John Wetton: Agenda & Amata
This pair of Wetton re-releases comes via Metal Mind Poland more renowned for the series of Roadrunner thrash/speed/death metal releases I have been working through of late. This two CDs are a more mellow affair especially Amata which features as acoustic performance of a mixture of Wetton's solo material, a few Asia hits and some King Crimson as well. Its a laid back affair with a three piece band. As you might expect there is a bit of doubling up between these two CDs, Agenda has 13 tracks with a full electrified band. On this one you have Wetton playing all the Asia hits in their full glory including "Heat of the Moment," "Smile has left your Eyes," and "Sole Survivor."
Both of these CDs are cracking examples of Wetton's talent and show him in full solo flow. What with Asia's full original line-up reunion, there is a bit of good timing about these releases. A Wetton live CD for whichever mood you are in — how convenient.
Marillion: Somewhere Else
This is one of those CDs that I didn't want to write a review for because it meant I would not be able to listen to it as much. Somewhere Else is a wonderful collection of tracks that does not outstay its welcome, as is common with so many prog/neo-prog releases. This is mostly rather mellow stuff but no complete background tunes. There is a level of talent here that is quite stunning as there is nothing even close to being considered a duff track. It's laid-back but full of nuance and imagery. Steve Hogarth is sounding better than ever, as is the rest of the band.
I shall not bother to mention any of the ten tracks on here as they are all great. If you are a Marillion fan its essential. If you like prog, it is close enough. If you just like finely crafted music played by talented musicians, you should probably get yourself a copy post haste.