GEFFEN 13.11.06

“Chuffing awful!” was the polite version of what our Deadhead Ed said of this album before fobbing it off on to yours truly. Well, I suppose I do have a greater tolerance of early 80s AOR.

Asia was a supergroup formed out of other supergroups such as Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer… and Buggles. Knowing full well that 20-minute prog epics about jig-dancing pagan dwarfs wouldn’t find much of an audience in 1982, they turned their attention to creating slick FM rock primarily for the American market, who went for this crap like a group of premiership footballers to a busty glamour model. Inevitably, Asia were huge.

Much of this ‘Definitive Collection’ sounds like a watered down Journey played by obviously brilliant musicians. The slick production is terribly dated and does little to mask the vapid material on offer. ‘Sole Survivor’ and ‘Voice Of America’ are centred around tuneless choruses whilst the apocalypse-themed ‘Wildest Dreams’ is enough to bring about the world’s end.

Yet there are one or two sparkling moments; ‘Heat Of The Moment’, Asia’s best known track, stands alongside ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, ‘Hold The Line’ and ‘Waiting For A Girl Like You’ as a top shelf AOR classic, whilst ‘Don’t Cry’ mixes catchy 60s pop melodies with Geoff Downes’ dominant synths. ‘Only Time Will Tell’ sounds as if it was written specifically for one of those corny montage sequences you get in ‘Rocky’ films, which may or may not be a good thing.

Otherwise, Dullsville all the way.

Ross Halewood