A worthy successor
Asia is a remnant from the '70s rock scene. Their melodic tunes, layered harmonies and vocal-based sound brings back memories of groups like Boston, Fleetwood Mac and the Alan Parsons Project.
Like Boston, Asia's 1982 debut album set a standard that is hard to measure up to. With hits like "Heat of the Moment" and "Only Time Will Tell," Asia rose to the top of the charts and was selling out sports arenas and concert halls across the globe.
Continuing the comparison with Boston, Asia's follow-up album fell far short of expectations. "Alpha" had only one hit, "Don't Cry," and the band was no longer the darling of radio stations.
Beating Boston to the punch, Asia has now released a third album. "Astra" is a solid effort, full of the attractive melodies and warm, layered vocals that made the first album so popular. John Wetton and Geoffrey Downes are proving themselves a skilled songwriting duo, and the new material sounds as fresh as their first songs did.
The music of Asia is a pure auditory experience, like chocolate for your ears. It possesses a texture, color and a consistency. Asia's larger-than-life themes and grandeur aren't for everyone; but for those who liked the first album, "Astra" is a worthy successor.
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