Wetton, John - Sinister

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Giant Electric Pea
Catalog Number: GEP 1029
Format: CD
Total Time: 39:13:00

Looking at John Wetton's output throughout his career, one has to admit he has never really been a true progressive soul, maybe except for his stints with Mogul Thrash and King Crimson. All of his other involvments to me sound more like an improved version of AOR. So when I see names pop up like Jim Vallance, Jim Peterik, Richard Wagner and Kevin Savigar (keyboard player with Rod Stewart), then what else could you expect but good sounding AOR? I almost had a heart attack when I saw the name of David Cassidy in the liner notes. Surely not the David Cassidy? John Wetton goes Partridge Family?

No David Kilminster on this disc, but a selection of friends ranging from Steve Hackett, Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald from the old days, down to IQ's Martin Orford, Jadis twins Gary Chandler and Steve Christey, Arena's John Mitchell and Qango partner John Young. Wetton reveals that the Sinister title applies to his left-handedness and that all of the songs are once again purely autobiographical. So we should take his word for it as he begins this album singing "Doing fine now, I'm feeling better, must admit that I was riding for a fall." And falling he was when I had the pleasure to meet the man the last time around. Having gained once again a fair amount of extra pounds, drinking to an extent where he could no longer remember the words to his own songs, a shadow of the man he used to be. But now he's back, Sinister as it might be, but as said before, with a truckload of radio friendly rock songs which have more to do with Asia than true prog classics. Just listen to the pumping drums in "Say It Ain't So" and you're in the front seat for your AOR ride. Luckily Wetton's voice sounds the same as say twenty odd years ago and that voice certainly remains one of the best voices in rock next to the great Paul Rodgers. Also "Where Do We Go From Here" is an Asia soundalike if ever I heard one. This song has the word radio written all over it so maybe it's time GEP released this as a single?

One of my favourites on John's new album certainly has to be the instrumental "E-scape" which has out of this world flute playing (sounding almost like Thijs Van Leer) by the great Ian McDonald augmented with soundscape guitar courtesy of Robert Fripp whilst Wetton adds some subtle keyboards. This is a superb piece of music which would fit perfectly on the Rockenfield-Speer album Hell's Canyon as this is also very visual music. Including both Dick Wagner and Greg Bisonette means that "Another Twist Of The Knife" is once again powerful AOR like it can only be composed in the hills surrounding Los Angeles. New found love Beate is allowed to add some chorus vocals to "Silently," a majestic song with alongside Martin Orford both Chris and Gary from Jadis in order to make this GEP all around.

The sparse arrangement for "Before Your Eyes" makes this a song which could do well in an unplugged setting. Penned with Qango friend John Young this song also sports some nice flute playing by Martin Orford adding to the fragile texture of the song. For most who heard this album "Second Best" has to be the song which stands out from the rest. Co-written with Sue Shiffrin and David Cassidy with whom he already wrote for Cher and Heart to name but two, this is as autobiographical as you can get! The album closes with "Real World", a simple acoustic song which sounds more like a tongue-in-cheek jam session between Wetton and Steve Hackett on harmonica. Give them one hour together and they'll write ten of those. Sadly no bonus tracks on this European version of what is also known as Welcome To Heaven, so with a total playing time of a little over 39 minutes, it's a bit on the short side. All in all a good solid John Wetton album: no step forward but certainly no step back!

Heart Of Darkness (4:51) / Say It Ain't So (3:57) / No Ordinary Miracle (4:42) / Where Do We Go From Here? (3:21) / E-Scape (4:08) / Another Twist Of The Knife (4:30) / Silently (3:54) / Before Your Eyes (2:56) / Second Best (4:00) / Real World (2:41)

John Wetton - vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards


John Mitchell - lead guitar
Jim Peterik - guitar, keyboards
Martin Orford - keyboards
Tod Sucherman - drums
Robert Fripp - soundscape guitar
Ian McDonald - alto flute
Dick Wagner - guitar
Greg Bisonette - drums
Steve Christey - drums
Gary Chandler - guitars
Beate - chorus vocals
Guy Roche - keyboards
Sue Shiffrin - backing vocals
David Cassidy - backing vocals
Ron Komie - guitars
Steve Hackett - harmonica

Caught In The Crossfire (1980)
Kings Road (1972-1980) (1987)
One World (w/Phil Manzanera) (1987)
Battle Lines (akaVoice Mail in JP) (1994)
Chasing The Dragon (1994)
Akustika - Live In Amerika (1996)
Chasing The Deer (1998)
Arkangel (1998)
Monkey Business 1972-1997 (w/Richard Palmer-James) (1998)
Live In New York (1999)
Live In Tokyo (1999)
Sub Rosa - Live In Milan 1998 (1999)
Nomansland Live In Poland (1999)
Sinister (2001)
Anthology (2001)
Rock Of Faith (2003)
Agenda (Live In Poland) (2003)
Amata (2004)
Icon (w/ Geoff Downes) (2005)
Icon II - Rubicon (w/Geoff Downes) (2006)
Icon Live - Never In A Million Years (w/Geoff Downes) (2006)
Icon 3 (w/ Geoff Downes) (2009)
Raised In Captivity (2011)

Live In The Underworld (DVD) (2003)
Amorata (DVD) (2003)

Hensley - Wetton - One Way Or Another (2002)

Hensley - Wetton - More Than Conquerers (DVD)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: February 20th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.johnwetton.co.uk
Hits: 662
Language: english


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