Reviewed by Nuno on 11 Apr 2003
For better and/or for worse, John Wetton has an intimate relation with Progressive music history! Countless are the projects/bands/albums that have been touched by this artists contribution. And if some with questionable quality, most of them are undoubtedly part of the 35+ years of prog rock portfolio.
Rock of Faith is the latest solo release by this unaged and untangible legend, and the truth is that, once more, Wetton is capable of astonishing moments with the same ease that he can mix weaker moments.
In this 2003 Giant Electric Pea release, some noticeable guests are credited with their participation. One of them, curiously, has a similar path to that of Wetton, though with a +-10 years gap. Off course I’m talking about Mr Clive Nolan who is responsible for some of the beautiful orchestrations that Rock of Faith unfolds during its listening.
Focusing on this album, the music that is present is that to be expected from Wetton’s solo releases: an amalgamation of styles that mirror the influent paths that have been crossed in his career. So moments that may remind you of Asia, some soft KC, some Arena Rock, some carefully constructed ballads and even some moves that show proximity to The Moody Blues (A New Day) or BJH(I’ve Come To Take You Home).
If Mandrago and Rock of Faith are highly inspired, with worked out orchestrated architecture, Who Will Light A Candle? takes this path even further, slowing down the rhythm as it fastens up the heartbeat of emotional content.
In my opinion, Nothing’s Gonna Stand In Our Way is the biggest sin of this album, a RockFM sort of music, tipically 80’s, that would fit tremendously well in a Foreigner album or any other similar band’s collection...
Suddenly, the music takes another giant twist and returns to inspired mode, as Altro Mondo and I Believe In You blow singular calmness from the speakers/headphones, contagious purpose that sweets my ears with candy sounds.
Take Me Down To The Waterline has a kind of early Supertramp sparkles that are hidden behind an almost U.S. country chorus surfacing in some Asia track.
I Lay Down is, again, an introspective emotional voyage, accompanied by mood lifting orchestrations and inspired guitar soloing.
The final When You Were Young is a vocal game, with strong reminiscenses to the Afro-American art of Gospel.
With one of his strongest vocal interpretations and some very good material, Rock of Faith shows us John Wetton well in shape and perfectly prepared to face the new millenium.
And though the music presented here is quite accessible to most ears (even the progless ones), the truth is that it still has a very prog spirit. Like a presence that proudly lightens the past while beholding the present.
So at this point I can only state: “Well done Mr Wetton”.