Icon 3
Style: Prog Rock / AOR
Release date: March 13th 2009

Geoff Wetton & John Downes are off course also the two driving forces behind in one of the most influential AOR bands in the eighties and forth: Asia. And for the third time they have put their differences behind them and have joint forces and been creative with their side project: Wetton/Downes.

While the latest Asia offering was a total let down in my book, I must admit that they are on to something with 'Icon 3'; building a bridge between prog rock and AOR with a full palette of colours, capturing the sound and atmosphere of the very early eighties; yes taking us back to their roots and 'Asia' and 'Alpha'.

The power of Geoff Downes' keyboard sounds and John Wetton's voice in combination with guitar virtuoso Dave Kilminster (Roger Waters & Keith Emerson) brings us back to the days when Asia was in heavy rotation on the radio. Former ELO cellist Hugh McDowell, whose unique sound has been a big part of their sound on all three albums, is once again involved and rounding out the band is Pete Riley on the drums. Two guests makes an appearance as well: new age harpist Andreas Vollenweider and highly acclaimed vocalist Anne-Marie Helder (Karnataka, Mostly Autumn).

The result is first class Prog Rock/AOR, but it is also an album that needed many spins to click, but once the music had sunk in and really opened up I found this to be a sheer listening pleasure. Like sweet candy for the ear, listenable and smooth, and they do thankfully not at any point fall into the trap that I think way too many AOR bands so easy fall into: get sappy and repetitive. They manage to hold the listener in a tight grip with their big sound collages, huge choirs and multi-layered song structures, all perfectly produced and executed.

'Icon 3' is one of the most accomplished AOR albums I've ever heard, and I really like the atmosphere they create on this album and must admit that this album has surpassed my wildest expectations...

01. Twice the Man I Was
02. Destiny
03. Green Ligths and Blue Skies
04. Raven
05. My Life Is in Your Hands
06. Sex, Power and Money
07. Anna's Kiss
08. Under the Sky
09. Don't Go Out Tonight
10. Never Thought I'd See You
11. Peace in Our Time
Label: Frontiers Records
Promotion: Zink Music
Distribution: Bonnier/Amigo (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen
Date: February 20th 2009
Website: www.geoffdownes.com