Tuesday, March 22, 2005

ASIA ‘Archiva I & II’

ASIA ‘Archiva I & II’ Snapper Music (2005) www.snappermusic.com

The two volumes of ‘Archiva’ were originally released back in 1996 and now they have been bought together on this specially priced CD by Snapper Music. The songs were found after a flood at the recording studios used by John Payne and Geoff Downes and unlike other rarities/outtakes collection most of these would easily be worthy of being on a studio album. There are many gems on these two discs including the Queen like harmonies on ‘Fight Against The Tide’, the pomp rocking ‘Boys From Diamond City’ (another version can be heard on Max Bacon’s album of a few years back) and ‘The Higher You Climb’. John Payne very nearly joined ELO Part 2 back in the early 90’s and there is the very ELO sounding ‘A.L.O.’ on here – apparently written ready for when Payne may have joined the band. There is also a cover of ELO’s ‘Showdown’ that sees less strings more synths than the original version. Former members Steve Howe and Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy/21 Guns) also appear on tracks on these albums with Howe in fine form on ‘Ginger’.

If you are an Asia fan and have yet to sample either of these albums then now is the time to do so as you won’t be disappointed and there are many delights to be heard on the two discs. Just proves what a fine combination Downes and Payne make.


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