Upon leaving UK, before reaching Asia, journeyman John Wetton released his first solo album, Caught in the Crossfire. Although a vocal doppelgänger of Greg Lake, as a songwriter Wetton was always more of a team player, so there was no occasion in Wetton's past work where you could say, "Aha, this is what he'd sound like on his own." And he is largely on his own here, handling vocals, bass, keyboards, and even guitar while writing all of the material (though Peter Sinfield does chip in on "Get What You Want"). The result is surprisingly good; Wetton is clearly more comfortable writing songs on the bass, but he fleshes them out nicely with keyboards, supported by Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke, embellished with the plaintive guitar leads of Jethro Tull's Martin Barre, and polished with a pair of saxophone solos from Malcolm Duncan. The songs could be seen as Asia on a more intimate scale ("Baby Come Back," "When Will You Realize?"), though in some cases the taut sound of UK is also evident ("Turn On the Radio"). While there are occasional missteps, such as borrowing the Monkees' "Daydream Believer" for "I'll Be There," there are also occasional moments of near-greatness, such as the haunting "Cold Is the Night." Far from the grab-bag approach that these maiden voyages often take, Caught in the Crossfire benefits from a consistent vision and execution. Wetton's not trying to dazzle you with his songwriting or range, just make an album of relevant, intelligent music. And he succeeds more often than not here. F.Y.I., the Renaissance reissue features different cover artwork than the original EG editions.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Connolly
feat: Peter Sinfield