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Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 2446 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars A colossal failure or progressive rock masterpiece? Well kind of both. Not an album that will produce immediate praise and i think that is what causes this album to get panned.

When Yes came out with Close To The Edge, they were on a major roll. Three incredibly successful and thoroughly enjoyable albums from '71 through 72. Ending triumphantly with the lavishly packaged triple album live set Yessongs. The music was tight, funky at times, it rocked, was accessible, tuneful and their creativity seemed endless.

Then came Tales... If any of you remember the 70's the live album usually signaled the beginning of the end or a radical change in style. This album marked a significant shift in Yes for better or for worse.

TFTO was a huge ambitious project that Fragile and especially Close To The Edge hinted towards. The music slowed down, the rock had practically vanished, BRUFORD WAS GONE and the production quality took a step back. Also there was Jon Anderson on some kind of crazy spiritual quest. Where Close To the Edge described a spiritual quest, Tales gave a very big detailed novel of one. Anderson who was bent on creating something massive recently went through a spiritual awakening from reading some Eastern spiritual guide. Paramahansa's Autobiography of a Yogi. Yes had officially "weirded out." (Remember that term?!)

But what we did get was four epics that admittedly was a big let down for me at first. But after many listens it really started to reveal an amazing piece of work of nearly limitless depth.

I will admit that the whole concept comes across extremely pretentious (ya think!) but is actually an earnest work of creativity. What Yes accomplishes is some amazing atmospheres, great melodies, great solos from everyone and a certain mystique. Steve Howe's composition skills and guitar work take a huge leap. Alan White's drums have the listener missing the sharp snap and chops of Bruford BUT his skills keeping a massive undertaking like Tales grounded and running smoothly must not be undermined. You can throw anything at Mr. White and he can make it work effortlessly. Rick Wakeman does a good job with his solos and textures even though he hated it. Chris Squire still finds a way to incorporate his rhythmic and simultaneous melodic bass playing and even treats us to a nice solo on Ritual and Anderson leads this behemoth with his angelic voice and barely comprehensible lyrics..

Do not start with this album and don't get it if you have a short attention span or no patience. If you like long epic songs that stir the soul and like to have a nice long solitary listening experiences, I guarantee you'll appreciate this work.

ster | 4/5 |


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