JOHN WETTON Rock Of Faith (Giant Electric Pea/SPV 2001)
John Wetton’s new album features a strong line-up of guest musicians,
although fewer than on recent albums. Wetton handles much of the
instrumentation and is joined by Clive Nolan (Arena/Pendragon) on keys,
Arena’s guitarist John Mitchell, drummer Steve Christey. But of real
interest to Asia fans will be the name of Geoff Downes, who co-writes a
couple of numbers as well as providing keyboards. John Wetton and Clive
Nolan, along with Threshold’s Karl Groom produce the whole album.
The album’s lyrics overall are very personal, with subtle religious
undertones. For example, the title track ‘Rock of Faith’ has monk-like
backing chants. ‘A New Day’ is a tale of visiting your own personal hell and
then coming out the other side. The track features swirling organ plus some
heavy guitar, all underpinned by harmony vocals. The first Wetton-Downes
co-written track is ‘I’ve Come To Take You Home’, an Asia like slow building
ballad, that also features ex-ELO cellist Hugh McDowell. Wetton’s vocals
take centre stage on ‘Who Will Light A Candle?’, with a spine tingling vocal
from Wetton backed by minimal strings.
Other highlights are many, including the mid-tempo AOR of ‘Nothing’s
Gonna Stand In Our Way’, with some great sax playing by Tim Garland (he also
pops up on ‘I Belive In You’). Geoff Downes co-writes ‘I Lay Down’, a fine
AOR style track and John Young co-wrote the catchy melodic track ‘Take Me To
Special mention as well to the two instrumentals ‘Altro Mondo’ and
Mondrago’, both very choral in style and containing some fine keyboard work.
A tour de force - simple as that. Long term Wetton and Asia fans will
thoroughly enjoy this fine slice of music that defies categorisation, along
with anyone who enjoys heartfelt music and lyrics. To me it’s just BGM -
Bloody Good Music.