John Wetton

Raised in Captivity

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For anyone trying, no doubt with difficulty, to keep score, 2011's Raised in Captivity is the seventh solo studio album by 61-year-old singer/songwriter/bassist John Wetton over a period of 31 years. "Solo" is of course the key word, since Wetton is much better known as a member of groups, primarily the chart-topping early ‘80s progressive rock band Asia, but also numerous others including King Crimson, Uriah Heep, and U.K. On the albums by those ensembles and on his previous solo LPs (Caught in the Crossfire, Jacknife, Voice Mail [aka Battle Lines], Arkangel, Welcome to Heaven [aka Sinister], and Rock of Faith), Wetton has pursued a melodic, pop-infused version of prog, and he does so on Raised in Captivity, too. Old friends such as Geoff Downes, Steve Hackett, Tony Kaye, and Steve Morse help him create familiarly full-sounding rock arrangements, over which he sings in his still supple tenor. Curiously, the sound occasionally veers toward that of the Police, a band that was hitting its stride as a post-punk/power pop outfit just as Asia was hitting number one. In such tracks as the title song and "The Last Night of My Life," Wetton distinctly exhibits the influence of Sting, another singer/songwriter/bassist, when the direction of influence probably should have gone the other way. Nevertheless, the album remains one that will provide minor pleasure to fans of Asia and some of the other groups with which Wetton has been involved.

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