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Review by Gary Hill

This album really is a very pop oriented album. It is included in the progressive section of the reviews because both Geoff Downes and Steve Howe are on the album. Since they have both been (and still is, in Howe`s case) members of Yes, any releases they are on fall into the progressive genre in terms of where the reviews get listed on this page. Asia was an intriguing band when it began. They were always based solidly in pop traditions, but had a good deal of progressive rock leanings. This album shows little of that prog flair, although there are moments. However, the inclusion of the Steve Howe solo Ginger, is one good reason to own this album.

Musicians on this album (those featured on all tracks) are Geoff Downes, John Payne. There are several other musicians present here as well, most notably, Steve Howe. However, when the album sleeve was copied for CD, the process was done poorly and the liner notes are quite blurred and illegible. Therefore, I will not be listing the remaining musicians.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Heart of Gold
In style, this piece is progressive pop. In fact, this is the style in which Asia has become pretty well entrenched. However, this particular track leans far more to the pop end than the progressive side of the equation.
A fairly typical song of lost love, musically this one is a rather generic approach at pop. Tears seems to have more in common with the pop era of the Doobie Brothers than with progressive rock.
Fight Against the Tide
An acappella intro (a bit reminiscent of some of Head East`s work) gives way to a piano and vocal verse. Queen comes to mind in a few segments of the verse. Certainly towards the pop end of the scale, this piece does have a good deal of prog sensibilities and echoes of Downes` Buggles era. There are moments of near keyboard wizardry, timing changes and a fairly complicated arrangement, making this a strong track.
We Fall Apart
An almost techno/industrial/dance song which features a fairly discofied bass line. We Fall Apart is definitely a pop anthem type of number.
The Mariner's Dream
Although this instrumental tune is short, it is quite entertaining.
Boys From Diamond City
The `80`s metal feel comes to mind in this cut. It is crunchy and hard rocking, and features a chorus that is somewhat in the vein of Loverboy.
Here the intro has the feel of ELO, but the piece rapidly drops into a basic rock and roller. A no-frills rock and roll format dominates this song. The chorus also has that ELO sort of feel, but perhaps the biggest influence on this one is Sweet.
Reality is definitely a pop rock song with strong AOR leanings.
I Can't Wait A Lifetime
Containing a nice keyboard intro, this is a moody, but quite accessible pop number. Solid AOR influences are also contained here.
Dusty Road
An interesting keyboard intro leads into some nice guitar work. Although definitely a pop song, this number features some solid progressive leanings. Dusty Road is a rather dramatic and emotional piece.
I Believe
I Believe is set in an almost heavy metal mode and is certainly a hard rocker.
A very nice accompanied guitar solo by Steve Howe, Ginger is certainly the best piece on this album. Showcasing Mr. Howe`s considerable talents, this is a very evocative piece.
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