Review by Scott Prinzing
Considered by many to be one of the greatest prog albums of all time, it is a shame that the line-up lasted only one album and tour. The combined talent of these four players (Bill Bruford on drums and percussion; Allan Holdsworth on guitars; Eddie Jobson on keyboards and electric violin; and John Wetton on bass and vocals) is simply astounding. While the term “supergroup” is virtually synonymous with ’70s prog, this group had quite a collective CV when they formed: Curved Air, Bryan Ferry, Gong, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Soft Machine, Uriah Heep, Yes and Frank Zappa (later adding such notable bands as Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe; Asia; Earthworks; Icon; Jethro Tull; Wishbone Ash; and innumerable solo albums, side projects and sessions). But this is the one and only studio work by this amazing quartet.
Most prog fans knew what they would get from Bruford and Wetton, but fewer would have been familiar with the indisputable talents of Holdsworth and Jobson. What they produced can best be described as something bridging the gap between the more experimental work of King Crimson and the more commercially accessible work of Asia. Classical discipline and virtuosity is crossed with jazz experimentation and improvisation tempered with subtle pop sensibilities. Holdsworth in particular impressed everyone from Eddie Van Halen to Yngwie Malmsteen to Frank Zappa and it’s obvious why: there is a fantastic aura emanating throughout Holdsworth’s playing that reexamines the role of the electric guitar in a rock setting like few others before him.