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John Wetton - 'Raised In Captivity' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/e7/65/28/1541_johnwettonraisedincaptivity_1315079365.jpeg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 03, 2011    
 
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Yet another excellent album to add to an already impressive body of work.

This is the sixth solo album from John Wetton, and the first since 2003's 'Rock Of Faith.' In that time, Wetton has released three 'Icon' collaboration albums with his Asia colleague Geoff Downes, and has also seen a full blown reunion of the band which brought him the most commercial success of his career.

For 'Raised In Captivity' Wetton has teamed up with multi-instrumentalist and producer Billy Sherwood (Yes, World Trade, YOSO) to perform the bulk of the material, with a healthy smattering of special guests that have previously worked with John on various projects during his four decade career. Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse appears on the opening track 'Lost For Words', an out and out rocker with a stop-start rhythm and subtle prog edge, and Uriah Heep's Mick Box serves up a searing solo on the melodic rocker 'New Star Rising', which is probably the closest thing to Asia on the album. There's an eighties Rush-style sound to the title track and 'The Last Night Of My Life', the former featuring John's ex-King Crimson band-mate Robert Fripp, the latter includes jazz guitarist Alex Machacek.

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Ex Yes/YOSO keyboardist Tony Kaye appears on the classy mid-tempo ballad 'Don't Misunderstand Me' and 'The Human Condition', which initially sounds a little one-dimensional and repetitive but grows on you with repeated plays, and another ex band-mate Eddie Jobson (U.K.) contributes some subtle violin parts to the lengthy, meandering mid-tempo but utterly brilliant number 'The Devil And The Opera House.' There are two folk-tinged tunes in the fairly simplistic and short but sweet 'Steffi's Ring', featuring Geoff Downes, and the sea-shanty swing of 'Goodbye Elsinore' with great guitar contributions from Genesis man Steve Hackett. The epic, sweeping string-laden ballad 'Mighty Rivers' that closes the album is performed as a duet with Dutch soprano Anneke Van Giersbergen, (The Gathering, Ayreon, Devin Townsend) who has previously worked with Wetton/Downes on the 'Rubicon' album, and also features the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. There's also a bonus track, which curiously appears as track 5 on the album, 'We Stay Together' is gorgeous, catchy melodic rock that fully deserves its place on the CD. 

It's a fairly eclectic collection of songs that has echoes of many of Wetton's previous output, but still works well within the confines of one album, and while some compositions may not be as instantly digestible as others, with perseverance they gradually reveal their charms. He may not sing in quite as high as a register as before, possibly a result of the heart problems he encountered during the 2007 Asia world tour, but he still runs rings round many of his peers. Yet another excellent album to add to an already impressive body of work.

Ant Heeks

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