Wetton, John - 2011 Raised In Captivity

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ARTIST: Wetton, John
ALBUM: Raised In Captivity
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: John Wetton - vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards * Billy Sherwood - drums, percussion, guitars, production

Guests: Steve Morse, Robert Fripp, Mick Box, Steve Hackett, Alex Machacek - guitars * Eddie Jobson - violin * Geoff Downes - keyboards, Tony Kaye - organ * Anneke Van Giersbergen - vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Lost For Words * 02 Raised In Captivity * 03 Goodbe Elsinore * 04 The Last Night Of My Life * 05 We Stay Together * 06 The Human Condition * 07 Steffi's Ring * 08 The Devil And The Opera House * 09 New Star Rising * 10 Don't Misunderstand Me * 11 Mighty River

RATING: image



Still a busy chap well into the 21st century, John Wetton is still doing time, committed and connected to both the Wetton Downes and Asia projects, plus a recent U.K reunion.

In 2011 he has found time to work on a new solo outing 'Raised In Captivity', which brings together a host of well-known players that have been associated with John in the past.

Recorded in California at the beginning of the year, John has worked in cohesion with Billy Sherwood, and this will be his sixth solo project going back over the years.

And during those intervening years, it can be said that Wetton has released a solid body of work, most notably with Asia, U.K and some (notice I said some, not all) of his solo work.

The same cannot be said for the material on 'Raised In Captivity', which though good in parts is a bit of an inconsistent listen.

If there is a slight criticism, it's as if Wetton has tossed all his musical beliefs, aspirations, influences, references and calling cards that he has accumulated over the years - into one single bag, shaken it all up and tossed it out onto the table just to see what sticks.

I'm sure this didn't happen in reality, but given the relatively short timeframe in which to write, record and produce this album, you can be assured that the usual lengthy delays in getting the mix right just didn't occur.

The Songs

The first couple of tracks are a good initial workout.

The opener 'Lost For Words' has Sherwood's trademark stamp written all over it, but the quality of the vocals aren't great. Wetton's fast paced singing on the verses was off-putting, just a couple of notches shy of rap.

The title track has a good up-tempo vibe and feels like a good fit for this album.

'Goodbye Elsinore' has a nautical theme that might sound homely and traditional, but was of little interest to me.

'The Last Night Of My Life' is more about hi-tech pop-rock in the vein of '90125' era Yes, it's quite a reasonable track.

'We Stay Together' is a nice reminder from his 'Battle Lines' period which can only be good. Unfortunately, the quirk and supposed lyrical cleverness of 'The Human Condition' didn't catch on, unlike the lilting Clannad like 'Steffi's Ring' which is gentle and lush and veering to the prog side of the path.

'The Devil And The Opera House' (silly title yes?) contains all the elements that one can associate with Wetton's material, whereas 'New Star Rising' is a punchy commercial rocker fitting the hard rock/AOR genre comfortably.

'Don't Misunderstand Me' is a meandering piece that probably is a better contender for a Wetton Downes album rather than this one.

The closing 'Mighty Rivers' is a duet with Dutch prog singer Anneke Van Gisbergen, the choral arrangements are big and bountiful, and once again given the similarity, this too could've (and should've) graced a Wetton Downes album instead.

In Summary

I will admit this album won't get that much airplay from me, it just didn't contain enough interesting material in the long run, though I'm sure that both Wetton and Sherwood crammed as much as they could into the month long time allotment given to this album.

I guess that my musical tastes are somewhere else at the moment, and it wouldn't surprise me further down the track if my opinion of this album gets to change.

There are a couple of songs well worthy of your attention though: 'We Stay Together', 'Steffi's Ring' and the impressive 'Mighty Rivers', so the album is overall good and worthy of your attention.

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