Battle Lines

John Wetton

Cromwell Productions CPCD 020, 1994
Right Where I Wanted to Be [Wetton/Marlette] ***
Battle Lines [Wetton/Marlette/Mitchell] ***
Jane [Leiber/Wetton/Phillips] ****
Crime of Passion [Wetton/Young] ***
Sand in My Hand [Wetton/Turgon] ***
Sea of Mercy [Wetton/Marlette/Mitchell] ***
Hold Me Now [Wetton/Marlette] ***
Space and Time [Wetton/Peterik] ****
Walking on Air [Wetton/Marlette] ****
You're Not the Only One [Wetton/Marlette] ***

Produced by Ron Nevison

John Wetton: vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards
Bob Marlette: keyboards, grand piano, synthesizer, programming
Michael Landau: guitars
Michael Cartellone: drums
Claude Gaudette: keyboards, programming
Robert Fripp: guitar, devices
Simon Phillips: drums
Steve Lukather: guitar
Dave Boruff: alto saxophone
Robbie Buchanan: grand piano
Jed Leiber: keyboards, programming
Paul Buckmaster: orchestral arrangements

Recorded April-July 1993

A disappointing album from John Wetton. While I like Wetton's more mainstream work in Asia and earlier solo work, this release shows little of his flare for catchy hooks and powerful bass lines. Or, if the flare was ever there, it has been snuffed out by clichéd AOR arrangements. The saxophone on "Crime of Passion" is a particularly painful example. Live, a number of these tracks were more successful. Perhaps the blame lies with Wetton's new writing partner, Bob Marlette. The two pieces I enjoyed most on the album—"Space and Time" and "Jane"—are without his co-writing credit.

The lyrics are Wetton's usual fare of failed relationships. Female names again common in the choruses: Marianne in "Sand in My Hand" a poor echo of Asia's "Kari-Anne". Attempts at storytelling, like "Crime of Passion", fall flat, although a vaguely X-Files feel to "Space and Time" was interesting. The playing is undistinguished and little different from any rock album, even Wetton's bass is irrelevant. "Jane" is the main exception here: spirited drumming from Phillips, bouncy, Downes-like keyboards from Leiber and inventive use of backing vocals.

Hopefully, Wetton's 1997 release, Arkangel, will capture him better.

Henry Potts, 6 Jan 97

Further comments (12 Jan 98): Wetton has since intimated that he was unhappy with how Battle Lines came out and he sees Arkangel as more successful.

Originally posted to

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