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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » GPS - 2006 Window To The Soul
GPS - 2006 Window To The Soul

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ALBUM: Window To The Soul
LABEL: Inside Out
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: John Payne - vocals, bass, guitars * Guthrie Govan - guitars * Jay Schellen - drums, percussion

Guest: Ryo Okumoto - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Window To The Soul * 02 New Jerusalem * 03 Heaven Can Wait * 04 Written On The Wind * 05 I Believe In Yesterday * 06 The Objector * 07 All My Life * 08 Gold * 09 Since You've Been Gone * 10 Taken Dream



Earlier in 2006, the long time collaboration between Geoff Downes and John Payne came to an end. Downes resurrected the Mark I version of Asia for its 25th anniversary and put the more recent version of the band into the wardrobe. Actually, I think it got consigned to the rubbish tip, as Payne went off to form a new outfit, initially called One, but changed to GPS because of a naming conflict with another similarly named band. Payne took fellow Asia-ites Guthrie Govan and Jay Schellen with him, hence the band name. Signed to prog label InsideOut, the trio enlisted the support of Spocks Beard ivory-tinkler Ryo Okumoto: without whom this album would've sounded as flat as a pancake. Payne's voice is much harsher this time around, it's as if he's skulled a few rums with crushed barnacles for ice! Notwithstanding, he's still on form, though not as smooth as before. In the main, I found this album quite hard going actually. Some songs work, some don't.

The Songs
Fans of Asia's recent work such as 'Arena' and 'Silent Nation' might find some similarity here. For me, I didn't like those albums much, and as GPS has landed on the same liferaft (to my ears at least), they find themselves drifting on the merciless sea of critique. Not that 'Window To The Soul' is a lost cause. The title track is a powerful demonstration of what they are capable of. 'New Jersualem' despite some blatant ripoffs gets the thumbs up due to the fantastic keyboard solo at the end. 'Heaven Can Wait' navigates through various passages which are part prog, part melodic rock. 'All My Life' is an excellent melodic rock workout, as is the finale 'Taken Dreams', with Okumoto's organ work a standout. Then again, some songs didn't sink in at all. 'The Objector' and its unusual Eastern flavours just too exotic for these ears. 'Written On The Wind' was for me unexciting.

In Summary
All in all, a bit of an inconsistent listen, but if you play it often enough, I'm sure you'll get some reward for your effort. 64 minutes across ten tracks is a bit of an earful. Some of these tunes should've been cut back (timewise) I feel. There is no doubt that John Payne can pen a very good song or two, but I get the impression that this album was slightly rushed. Either that, or he needs someone else to spin his very good ideas across. I've read elsewhere - comments from some people saying that this is the album of the year for them. Really? I'd love to know what was their worst. From my perspective, GPS at this early stage of their development, is very much a 'work in progress'.

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#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 12:58:34
Pretty much what I was expecting, once I heard that the Payne era Asia had been shelved, due to the call of the dollar!There's some great songs on here though, including the title track, 'New Jerusalem' & 'Gold', with special mention going to Ryo Okumoto's keys that lend a quite different feel to some of the arrangements, compared to the trademark 'Parping' of Geoff Downes in Asia. One of the stronger Proggy release of that year & a Disc I like quite a lot.
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