Having now listened to Omega - a lot - the misgivings I had were happily unfounded.
It should almost go without saying that the lyrics are best put out of mind (although I doubt the two Howe/Wetton tracks are
Wetton lyrics). Well unless you want a laugh that is. 'Finger on the Trigger' does actually sound like a deliberate
listing of trite lines - I'd be tempted to think so if there was any shred of irony or wit throughout. But you never know - it just might be very, very, very
dry. Wetton's usual approach appears to be 'as long as it rhymes/scans, it's going in'.
It's astonishing that he can summon up so much commitment and seeming sincerity for this stuff. I actually like his voice - not an incredible vocal range and the pronunciation is often cheesey in the extreme, but he's tuneful and passionate without the sort of whiney angst-ridden edge that marrs emo or Michael - just-kill-me-now-Bolton's warblings [or Meatloaf or Bon Jovi - come to think of it you American's are much better at it than Brits
My favourite in this vein is 'Emily' in which he pours out his grief for the doomed unrequited love he feels for this woman, which includes the lines: "I was blind, to the signs of your sex-yew-ally-tee/ Now it can't be denied, you bat for the other side". It's astonishing such a sensitive soul couldn't turn the lass. I can imagine his bewildered reaction: "Hey babe, it's such a shame our eternal love, that could maybe even have lasted a lifetime, was not to be. It will be hard for me to overcome the grief for this etcetera. Anyway, how long have you known you were lesbian?" And her reply: "Oh, a good 30 or 40 seconds..."
But putting the lyrics to one side [if you can and clearly, I do] there isn't a bad track on this album. I actually think that it's musically more adventurous and has more thematic material and densely-worked arrangement than its predecessor, in spite of the absence of those purely instrumental segments. My favourite tracks are the two Howe/Wetton numbers and not because they are bereft of those lyrical howlers - they are both just very strong songs. In fact I think if you junked the lyrics from this album and the self-contained song structures, you'd have the makings of an extremely strong prog album by linking, layering and judiciously ordering the thematic material.
There isn't anything amazingly ground-breaking - it certainly does sound like it could be an 80s album. But the craft from these four and the musicianship of Howe and Palmer in particular, still shows the hallmark of masters at work.
I used to be agnostic. These days I'm not so sure.