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On disc: John Wetton

Raised In Captivity - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

Raised In Captivity

Raised In Captivity
(Frontiers Records - 2011)

John Wetton is a renown bass player and composer, some might remember his King Crimson days, other will think of Asia. Or Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, UK or even Bryan Ferry / Roxy Music. But now he's presenting another solo album - Raised In Captivity. John Wetton joined forces with Billy Sherwood who played everything Wetton didn't and additionally Mr. Wetton invited some friends and former band members like Geoff Downes (Asia, ICon), Mick Box (Uriah Heep), Robert Fripp (King Crimson) and Eddie Jobson (UK) as well as Steve Hackett (Genesis), Steve Morse (Deep Purple), Alex Machacek, Tony Kaye (ex-Yes) and Anneke van Giersbergen (Agua de Annique, ex-The Gathering)

The opener Lost For Words is a heavy rocker with 80's pop rock keyboard and a slight prog edge - and Steve Morse on guitar. But as so many times Wetton's vocals demand your attention. The up-tempo rocker and title track Raised In Captivity is another track which seems to combine different genres John Wetton feels home, it's a catchy rocker with some poppy backings, unusual drum pattern - unusual for pop tunes - and keyboards which show some progressive elements. And at the end a break leads you into a slow symphonic passage. With Goodbye Elsinore he presents a balladesque song based on acoustic guitar, but it's the folk elements which make this one stick out. Towards the end the backing vocals are too repetitive for my taste... Cutting it off about 30 seconds early would make it better in my opinion, but well... Alex Machacek is featured at The Last Day Of My Life. The keyboard is very 80's, but the song isn't a typical 80's tune. One of my favorites on Raised In Captivity, coz it has twists and turns. The bonus track We Stay Together is very Asia-like at the opening passage, but moves away from the Asia sound and becomes a radio-friendly pop rock tune. The Human Condition is one of two tracks featuring Tony Kaye - and this one had me right from the start!
The tune Steffi's Ring is another ballad, this time Geoff Downes joins in. The tune has a dash of Jethro Tull in it... It's followed by The Devil And The Opera House, a 7 minute long tune featuring Eddie Jobson. The song is a bit Asia-like - and I like it. It also shows perfectly that John Wetton knows how to write catchy tunes. After New Star Rising (feat. Mick Box), he slows down for Don't Misunderstand Me a melancholy, symphonic balladesque tune which features Tony Kaye. Enchanting. And last but not least Mighty Rivers! The opening passage offers some Gregorian chant, then continues with a slight symphonic touch. But it's the vocals which makes this one special! John Wetton teams up with former The Gathering singer Anneke van Giersbergen - and they carry you away into Mighty Rivers.

Raised In Captivity is somehow documenting Wetton's career. It has more rock or pop rock tunes than ballads. There are some outstanding compositions and so I recommend this album to all fans of John Wetton and his music!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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