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GPS Window to the Soul album cover
3.50 | 53 ratings | 6 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Window to the Soul (6:57)
2. New Jerusalem (8:26)
3. Heaven Can Wait (8:03)
4. Written on the Wind (6:54)
5. I Believe in Yesterday (7:15)
6. The Objector (6:19)
7. All My Life (5:28)
8. Gold (5:01)
9. Since You've Been Gone (4:55)
10. Taken Dreams (4:56)

Total Time 64:14

Line-up / Musicians

- John Payne / vocals, bass, guitar
- Jay Schellen / drums, percussion
- Guthrie Govan / guitars
- Ryo Okumoto / keyboards

Releases information

SPV 48852 CD
Released in the US on Inside Out U.S. IOMCD 247

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and to projeKct for the last updates
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GPS Window to the Soul ratings distribution

(53 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

GPS Window to the Soul reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Good Prog Super-group

I feel a little bit sorry for John Payne. After having served as the frontman of Asia for some 14 years and recorded five studio albums with that band (for which he co-wrote much of the material), he was dumped to give way to the reunion of the four original members (John Wetton, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, and Geoff Downes). After that Payne formed a little super- group of his own together with two other ex-Asia members in guitarist Guthrie Govan and drummer Jay Schellen, and keyboardist Ryo Okumoto of Spock's Beard fame. This became GPS (for "Govan, Payne and Schellen", I suppose?)

Window To The Soul was the new band's first release and it comes across as a more progressive version of Payne-era Asia. The final Asia album featuring Payne, Silent Nation, already showed signs of a more progressive direction on several songs, but GPS takes this a little further. More space is allowed for instrumental work-outs and Govan and Okumoto shine on tracks like the eight minute plus New Jerusalem and the title track. The material is strong and melodic, the production values are high, there is a nice balance between rockers and ballads, and the musicians involved are highly professional. I get the feeling that they were more at liberty to do what they really wanted here, not being constrained by the Asia-name and the expectations that brought with it. I am certain that GPS will appeal more to Prog fans than Asia's output, but the difference from Asia is still primarily one of degree, not in kind. If you hate everything Asia ever did, I doubt that this would win you over.

John Payne is an overlooked singer, from an overlooked period of Asia's long career. Sadly, GPS's Window To The Soul is similarly overlooked. I am surprised to see that I am the first to review this album. I hesitated between three and four stars, but after having heard the album repeatedly over several days I conclude that it has a staying power deserving of a higher rating. Admittedly, not all the songs are great (Since You've Been Gone is as generic as its title indicates), but the few weaker moments are somehow better disguised here than on most Asia albums.

The latest news has it that there is a new studio album in the making that will be released under the name "ASIA featuring John Payne" and include Erik Norlander on keyboards. I suppose that is the end of GPS, but hopefully the Prog-spirit present on Window To The Soul will be carried over into that version of Asia and thus outshine the original line-up's recent works (like the dull Omega).

If you like Payne-era Asia, and desire a Prog-touch, GPS's Window To The Soul is for you

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars After reading South Side Of the Sky´s review of this album I went looking for this CD. After all, I liked Asia with John Payne and the prospect of an album with such great musicians as two former Asia members (guitarrist Guthrie Govan and drummer Jay Schellen) and with the participation of Spock´s Beard keybordist Ryo Okumoto, promised great things. And I was not disappointed. In fact, apart from a couple of Okumoto´s synth solos (more on the fusion side), Window to The Soul could be easily mistaken for a long lost Asia record. And a very good one by the way! In fact, I´d put it shoulder to shoulder with Payne´s best efford with that group (Silent Nation).

All tracks are good, the production is excellent and the band is really smoking. I really don´t understand why PA labeled it as neo prog. There is nothing like that here. What we have is the usual AOR/melodic rock with a few prog hints here and there, played by skillful musicians and sang with passion and conviction by Payne. Prog related would be much more fitting, I guess. So I´m warning you: if you´re looking for neo prog stuff, forget it. On the other hand, if you like catchy, melodic tunes with great hooks, jump on it! Maybe the best feature on Window To The Soul are the strong compositions, with not a single weak track on the entire CD. Best songs: New Jerusalem, Heaven Can Wait and Written On the Wind.

Rating: if this was an AOR/melodic rock site, Window To The Soul would be a five star CD. Since PA is not and there is so little prog on the album, I can´t do it. However, due to the high quality of the songs, the excellent perfomances and the brilliant production, a less than 4 star rating would be unfair. Definitly recommended to any Asia or melodic rock fan. Like the previous reviewer said, GPS should not be overlooked. A very good surprise.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As far as Asia concern, I do not actually pay attention about their albums after the original member was just Geoff Downes. But when I had this GPS album for the first time it blew me away at first spin especially with its rocking opening track 'Window To The Soul' (6:57) which demonstrates excellent vocal and stunning guitar work. Combined with Spock's Beard's keyboard player this track sounds even better. The second track 'New Jerusalem' (8:26) even has much better composition in terms of complexity as well as melody. The second track sounds really prog with inventive keyboard as well as stunning guitar. Oh wait ... John Payne vocal is also powerful and I really like when he sings here at second track. The third track 'Heaven Can Wait' (8:03) is quite tricky as at first part the music sounds like a slow rock style with simple composition. But as the music rolls there are great transition pieces and interlude with complex structure even though it returns back to mellow style through excellent work of Ryo on keyboard.

I dare to say that in terms of composition, the music of GPS is much better than any album that Asia has ever released as most of Asia albums are AOR or straight rock music. GPS is different; they explore their musical skills into areas where Asia has never entered into it. In fact this album by GPS provides Howe-standard guitar playing in Asia context. Look at the track where it starts with acoustic guitar fills in 'Written On The Wind' (6:54). AT first listen it reminds me to Michael Schenker's MSG kind of music - but it's actually different as the music moves to the next segments.

Overall, I find this album by GPS is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Off course this album is not as complex as Yes or ELP but for sure it's more complex and attractive than Asia in general. Through this excellent album Payne seems like prove himself to Downes that he can form a band better than Asia. I'm satisfied with this album, really. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Every Proghead should venture outside his musical comfort zone once in a while, and for me that would mean embracing anything related to the ersatz Progressive Rock of bands like ASIA, including this short-lived offshoot group organized by John Payne.

The backstory is confusing, but worth a quick summary. Payne was of course the replacement for John Wetton when the bassist left Asia in 1991, and for a decade-and-a-half was the most consistent steward of an insecure lineup (a timeline of the revolving door personnel roster looks like a modern art collage). But when founder Geoff Downes reassembled the original supergroup in 2006, Payne was left out on the curb, and together with Asia's other orphans formed this sibling band, the name of which was a fortuitous acronym of the first letter in each player's surname, minus Ryo Okumoto: a late addition on sabbatical from Spock's Beard.

A lot of the music on the group's only studio album was in fact leftover material intended for the next Asia session: muscular Neo-Prog fueled by near-toxic levels of undiluted testosterone, only occasionally softened by Okumoto's sensitive keyboard work. For a middle-aged guy, listening to the album is like going through puberty all over again.

There's nothing complicated here, or even remotely challenging. But Payne and company enjoyed one advantage over their superstar forefathers in the first Asia: they lacked the classic Prog credentials of John Wetton, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer, and couldn't be tarred with the same knee-jerk accusations of commercial sell-out.

That fact by itself gives the GPS project more legitimacy, despite their music being cut from essentially the same broad cloth. The gruff melodic range of Payne's singing was better suited than Wetton's to the bombastic power chords on display here, although I wonder how Payne was able to maintain that studied rasp over his long career without damaging his voice: check out the opening verses of "I Believe In Yesterday", before the song ascends to a rousing instrumental climax.

Elsewhere the music moves from an incredibly punchy title track to the macho romanticism of "Written on the Wind", with lots of catchy and aggressive riffing in between ("The Objector"). Too bad about all the boilerplate Pop-Metal digressions ("New Jerusalem"; "Since You've Been Gone"; "Taken Dreams"), which hold the album down like a six-string ball and chain.

After this single effort, and a belated two-volume, four-CD "Live in Japan" package (so far, not yet updated to the band's page here at ProgArchives), GPS was absorbed back into an alternate 'Asia Featuring John Payne', a compromise possibly brokered by the same legal eagles advising the new Anderson-Wakeman-Rabin doppelgnger Yes.

In the end I have to admire the band's considerable instrumental bluster, their formidable chops, and the perseverance of an underdog like Payne in such a cutthroat business. The GPS album is well worth a spin for Asia fans in particular, but also from musical vegans like me willing to expand their aesthetic tastes with an occasional bite of red meat.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars GPS is a kinda super group, formed out of the ashes of Asia (John Payne on vocals, Jay Schellen on drums), Guthrie Govan also played in Asia on guitar and future The Aristocrats member) and Spockțs Beard keybordist Ryo Okumoto. These 4 great musicians recorded and released one album in 2006 named Window to the soul. Well, this is a solid hard rock/progressive metal/rock album, the playing is tight and the vocals aswell are good, Paynes voice is great for such music. Pieces are quite longer then on usual hard rock/AOR album, some of them are over 8 min, where the musicians simply shine, well developed arrangements and the progressions are all over, this is a nice progressive hard rock album.

There are some fantastic keyboards and overall musicinship is top, like on opening title track Window to the Soul, New Jerusalem or Written On the Wind.

All in all a nice one, definetly can be checked by prog fans, even those who are more towards hard rock can take a listen without hesitation.

Latest members reviews

2 stars GPS A name to be well placed. But are they really in the right position? Sorry i think in this album I find a total disorientation of the band. First 3 or 4 songs quite good in a good neo prog related rock ...and reminds me the best albums of Asia with John Payne like Arena ...but the ... (read more)

Report this review (#761583) | Posted by robbob | Friday, June 1, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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