John Wetton

Battle Lines

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A reissue of an album originally released in Japan in 1994 under the title Voice Mail, 1995's Battle Lines continues John Wetton's career path over the preceding 15 years -- there's more pop than prog in his prog pop, in other words. Basically indistinguishable from a late-period Asia album, the ten tracks on Battle Lines were mostly co-written by Wetton and keyboardist Bob Marlette; the combination of their less-than-memorable melodies and undistinguished lyrics with Ron Nevison's smooth-as-glass production makes Battle Lines an almost entirely forgettable album with little to recommend it for anyone but the most devoted members of Wetton's cult following. (The man himself has dismissed this album in subsequent interviews, characterizing it as a misbegotten feint at the adult contemporary marketplace.) Only the opening "Right Where I Wanted to Be" and the spirited "Space and Time" feature particularly strong choruses, but both sound more like Chris de Burgh or Toto than the formerly much more interesting John Wetton.

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