GPS- Window To The Soul (Inside Out)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

1. Window To The Soul
2. New Jerusalem
3. Heaven Can Wait
4. Written On The Wind
5. I Believe In Yesterday
6. The Objector
7. All My Life
8. Gold
9. Since You’ve Been Gone
10. Taken Dreams



Earlier this year, Geoff Downes booted his longtime Asia cohort, John Payne, and reformed the original lineup of Asia. At the time, Downes and Payne, joined by guitarist Guthrie Govan and drummer Jan Schellen, were in the middle of recording the follow-up to 2004's Silent Nation, tentatively titled Architect of Time.

So, having been shown the door from the band he fronted for the past 15 years, Payne decided to carry on with the tracks he was working on for that aborted Asia release, and with Govan and Schellen, GPS was formed.

The original lineup of Asia – keyboardist Downes, guitarist Steve Howe, bassist/vocalist John Wetton and drummer Carl Palmer—were billed as a prog supergroup when they formed back in the early 80’s, even though they generally released radio-friendly songs like “Heat of the Moment,” “Don’t Cry” and “Only Time Will Tell.” Given this, it’s quite ironic that Window To The Soul offers more prog moments than the original lineup of Asia ever offered on record. Two tracks break the 8-minute mark and another three are near seven minutes. The title track features loads of guitars and a synth solo, provided by Spock’s Beard keyboardist Ryo Okumoto. “New Jerusalem” sees Payne continue with his penchant of using religious imagery in his lyrics matched with many more progressive touches, including a fiery solo from Govan and an extended synth solo from Okumoto to close out the song. “Heaven Can Wait” includes an instrumental break with an odd time signature, propelled by Schellen’s drumming.

While there are some weaker moments as the disc goes on, most notably “Gold” and its daft chorus, Window To The Soul is a strong release and sounds like a natural progression from Silent Nation. And throughout the disc, Okumoto acts as a very able substitute for Downes. Schellen lays down solid drum parts and Govan adds scorching guitar soloing.

As for Payne, his vocals are definitely an acquired taste. On the first two Asia releases that he featured, I quite honestly despised them as he sang way over the top for my tastes. But then, 1996’s Arena made me a fan as he toned down the vocal theatrics and pretty much stayed that way on every Asia release since. On this release, Payne seems to return just a bit to those theatrics, but they’re nowhere as annoying here.

So if you’re a fan of Asia with Payne, this disc is definitely worth grabbing. If you dislike that era and prefer the original lineup, then avoid this release. Me, I like good prog music, and Window To The Soul definitely falls into this category.

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