Asia - XXX

Thirty years after these ageing proggers, left behind by punk and synth pop, came together and began forging a monumental slab of cheesy rock, talk around Asia's twelfth album XXX is all about channelling the spirit of that eponymous debut. As I have espoused here before, the first Asia album is a very important record to me - being my earliest musical memory - so the prospect of having part two has filled me with equals parts of excitement at the prospect of a glorious dose of nostalgia and brilliance, and trepidation at the horror that could unfold as dear old memories are irreversibly tarnished by an embarrassing mutilation of the legacy.

And never has an album created such a rift between my analytical and emotional halves over exactly this point. Dissecting XXX, the pragmatic side is reviled by the cheesy 80s pop record created by musicians who have done so much more, trying desperately to recapture the lost glories of their first effort. But my heart loves XXX for the exactsame reasons, as Asia have indeed managed to tap into that special magic that made Asia what it is and in part at least bring it into today. Music is all about feeling, so the snooty half of me can go take a hike 'cos I ain't listening!

To be perfectly honest, I can't see this appealing to anyone who doesn't already enjoy the first album, but for those who do it hits all the buttons that did with its gloriously poppy tunes, passed through the ridiculously talented hands of Messrs. Howe, Wetton, Downes and Palmer. Beyond the odd solo slot where they really let rip, very little of their prog background is illuminated here, relying instead on the melodiousness of the material to carry the weight. And XXX has that by the bucketful, every song built around pleasing hooks and catchy choruses that will be lodged in the brain for weeks.

As successfully as Asia do manage to recreate 1983, nothing about XXX improves or even matches anything about Asia. Leaving itself very much on a par with Alpha (the band's second album) this will be enjoyed, and even have its champions, but ultimately will slide into being no more than a footnote of history. Still, this has been a fun trip down the misty-eyed backwaters of nostalgia to leave us with a worthy record that certainly won't go unplayed. Just not that often...

Overall

7

out of 10

Did you enjoy the article above? If so please help us by sharing it to your social networks with the buttons below...

Tags aor, asia, pop, prog
Category Review

Latest Articles