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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.45 | 3431 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Beyond and before this album, yes managed to build up their unique progressive sound and continue to evolve that sound in every album they released. The Yes Album, saw the band settling down to their prog rock soundscape, but Fragile took a leap in a better direction by improving the sound they had created. Fragile begins where The Yes Album left off, as it began with the simplistic "Yours Is No Disgrace" but ended with the more complicated and experimental "Perpetual Change". That sound pushed the limits of music and continued to do so on this excellent follow up album.

Fragile was acutally claimed to be a patchwork album, so it is remarkable that this turned to be one of the all time classic rock masterpieces! One reason for this was the addition of the piano and organ wizard, Rick Wakeman, who replaced Tony Kaye for this album. With Bill Bruford still in the band, this was the best Yes lineup of their whole career (Bill Bruford left after Close to the Edge and joined King Crimson. His replacement, Alan White, was luckily a great drummer too). Fragile showed off a new definition of sound. A good thing about this album what is missing from most others is that it was a mixture of proggresive rock songs and standard structured songs. This managed to attract more people into liking their sound.

The first short piece on this album is an exerpt from a classic piece. "Cans and Brahms" is a silly filler piece by Rick Wakeman, showing off his immense skill for about a minute or two. This song somehow feels comfortably placed being slotted inbetween "Roundabout" and "We Have Heaven", it manages to link the two together perfectly and keeps the flow of the album going. "We Have Heaven" is a crazy experiment in multi layered sound, experimental effects of doors slamming, footsteps and lots of different vocal parts being sang at the same time. This song can be mentally challenging or stimulating but it serves as another great short. "Five Percent For Nothing" is an awkward instrumental that lasts just over half a minute. This song enters rather rudely and i cant explain what it is i am hearing exactly, but it sounds damn good. "Mood for a Day" is a brilliant, emotional and dull acoustic piece but serves an excellent song that leads well into the frantic "Heart of the Sunrise". "Mood for a Day" certainly lives up to its title and shows a fragile, heartfilled side to the band, reminding us that modern life has always been rubbish.

The trademark lengthy pieces are still on this album and even more brilliant than the short tracks. "Roundabout" is the best song on the album, and one of the bands best ever efforts. A nine minute epic adventure involving acoustic guitars that lead into thundering basslines and a brilliant keyboard solo in the middle, ending with a mirror effect of the acoustic intro. Chris Squire's bass is magnificent on this track, the way it changes from the mellow intro to the rushing middle section is pefect. Jon's vocals are incredible as always but he really proves himself as an incredible and unique singer here more than anywhere else. "South Side of the Sky" is one of Yes' most beautiful pieces, crafted to perfection full of flowing structural change and the whole band playing to their best abilities. Rick Wakeman once again shines through here. Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman deliver their first major instrument battle in the frantic "Heart of the Sunrise", which leaves the album on a darker and frantic note. This reminds me a lot of "21st Century Schizoid Man" in the way of the speedy guitar riffage and the structure which has a slower middle section. This is excellent stuff.

Fragile is an amazing bridge between "The Yes Album" and "Close to the Edge" and is a favourite for any yes fan, but also a great starting point. Also any prog fans who arent into yes will love it. The album that introduced the world to Rick Wakeman. I'm bloody grateful.

frenchie | 5/5 |


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