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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 1550 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Yes were a different beast with the absence of Jon Anderson but they survived like any great band even without Jon's enigmatic presence. Trevor Horn may not be as accomplished and powerful as Jon but he certainly gives it his all on "Drama". The classy Chris Squire is here on pulsating bass, and then there is indispensable guitar virtuoso Steve Howe. Drummer Alan White is always wonderful and finally the keyboardist is Geoff Downes. The sound is markedly different with all these lineup changes and as a result it occasionally falls flat. There are still some incredible songs on the album that save it, notably the astonishing 'Machine Messiah', a 10 and a half minute romp with triumphant musicianship and infectious melodies. I first heard this on the brilliant compilation "Yes In A Word" and I have loved it ever since. The melodies and guitar motifs are dark and heavy with some colossal drumming patterns. The bass is perfect here and the harmonies are glorious. It is an outstanding track and definitely the main reason to get "Drama".

The other track on the comp from "Drama" is 'Tempus Fugit' and to be honest they are really the only masterful tracks on offer. Admittedly the album was better than I expected with the absence of the classic members Jon and Rick, so it was a delightful experience to hear this finally after all these years. I had put off getting this for all these reasons. The unknown seldom heard songs on this were the real concern for me so here we go; listening to 'new' Yes.

'White Car' is just a 1:21 running time of music sounding like some classical music fanfare. A genuine throwaway and feels more like a transition. 'Does It Really Happen?' has a fabulous bassline driving it, and I can enjoy the unusual time sig that seems to come in too soon. This one has a proggy rock beat and the vocals are very good, especially the harmonies.

'Into the Lens' is the one that sounds like The Buggles 'I am a Camera' and in fact is virtually the same. It is okay but is a product of the 80s, in the melodies and commercial sound. The instrumental break is excellent, especially Howe's guitar licks, and makes this a worthwhile track to indulge in. 'Run Through the Light' is one I had not heard anywhere but I enjoyed 'new' Yes as I have heard just about everything else Yes have done. The synths in the opening are nice, the reverberated vocals work well, and this is actually an endearing song. Howe has a field day on guitar and the keys are well executed. It is not the greatest song but this still held my interest.

'Tempus Fugit; I always loved from the compilation so it was great to hear this again. It has a really good keyboard soaked intro and such a massive bassline. The musicianship is A class on this track. So that is the original album out of the way and it is not even half as bad as I had heard it was by the Yes aficionados.

Other tracks on the deluxe version include Into The Lens (I am a camera) (single version), Run Through The Light (single version), Have We Really Got To Go Through This, Song No.4 (Satellite), Tempus Fugit (tracking session), White Car (tracking session). These are all decent songs though obvious outtakes and curios as most bonus tracks tend to be. No complaint as its always great t hear these rarities. However the next few songs are of more interest with the lineup of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, Alan White and Steve Howe. The songs include Dancing Through The Light, Golden Age, In The Tower, and Friend Of A Friend. Dancing Through The Light has a ton of keyboard plink plonks and some really terrible production on the vocals that repeat themselves ad infinitum. Golden Age is trumpeting keys and a pumping rhythm and again thin production on the vox, though it;s nice to hear Jon Anderson. In The Tower has a cool Wakeman opening, beautiful vocals of Anderson, but not very memorable. Friend Of A Friend is Anderson and a lot of squiggly keyboard on a straight 4/4 beat in the verses. Not a bad track but needs more oomph in the production as all these tracks do.

Overall "Drama" is actually a decent album, not brilliant by any standards, but nevertheless worth pursuing. It could have been better but this is proggier than some of the other Yes albums to follow. It is much better than "Big Generator", "Tormato" or "Union", and worth a listen to the deluxe version for sure.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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