Friday, May 28, 2010

Review: Asia "Omega"

The reunited supergroup Asia (Geoffrey Downes, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, and John Wetton) is back with its follow up to the excellent "Phoenix" (2008). I am a huge fan of their big 80s hits like "Heat Of The Moment", "Only Time Will Tell", and "Don't Cry" and thought that "Phoenix" was a respectable comeback. In my opinion, Asia works best when they temper their prog rock with catchy hooks and radio-friendly songwriting. Unfortunately, this is not the case on their latest, "Omega".

This is not to say that "Omega" is a a total dud, but in general it is pretty dull and unengaging. What saves the record are cuts like the arena ready opener, "Finger On The Trigger", which has just about everything a casual fan of Asia would desire. "I'm Still The Same" is another pop rocker that drills into the mind a lot faster than the other songs on "Omega". There are some additional tracks near the end that (subtly)recall their 80s hey day, with "I Believe" being one of the best uptempo tunes on the record. The CD closes with a decent ballad called "Don't Wanna Lose You Now".

As always, the musicianship and production is top notch, and Asia's lyrics remain more cerebral than your average AOR band. Too bad the songs on "Omega" are not as strong as the players.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 6, 9, 11, 12

Asia on MySpace. Official site.

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