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John Wetton - Battle Lines [Aka: Voice Mail] CD (album) cover

BATTLE LINES [AKA: VOICE MAIL]

John Wetton

 

Prog Related

3.56 | 47 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Right where he wanted to be

This is not John Wetton's first solo album, but it was the first one he did after his participation in Asia. Wetton eventually left and Asia soldiered on with John Payne on vocals and after a collaboration album with Phil Manzanera, Wetton's solo career begun for real with Battle Lines. Robert Fripp appears on this album, but Battle Lines has clearly more to do with Asia than with King Crimson. Indeed, Battle Lines can be seen a continuation of late 80's Asia in the 90's. This is hardly a Prog album and as such it is bound to disappoint anyone expecting it to be. However, Wetton is a very talented songwriter and this album features a good set of songs. He is right where he wants to be musically, but it is mostly not right where I want to be, I'm afraid!

Still, the only songs I have a problem with here are the two ones with girl's names appearing in the choruses - Jane and Sand In My Heart (Mary Ann). Despite being released in 1994, Jane also has a strong 80's sound that I'm sure will make many Prog fans cringe. The opening track is also a bit too catchy for my taste. Otherwise the songs are generally good, but mostly rather unexciting.

The title track is in my opinion a great song! This was the only song from this album that I knew before from various live recordings. For example, from the excellent concert DVD Amorata and the even better Steve Hackett DVD The Tokyo Tapes on which Wetton sings. Another song here that I really like is the beautiful keyboard based ballad Walking On Air.

Despite the presence of a couple of very good songs and the generally high quality of the song writing, Battle Lines is only recommended for fans of Asia and John Wetton. For the average Prog fan this is not the best place to start.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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