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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.44 | 3212 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars This was the first album I bought after passing through my progressive rock introductory Pink Floyd phase, and the one that eventually led me to the nerdy "prog fan" status I held for many years following (still pretty much have it, really).

This is a great introduction to Yes' music. You should start here if you are going to get into their stuff. I give this album 5 stars for that reason, even though the material is somewhat inconsistent in places. It is essential for a "progressive rock fan" - not being familiar with this album is like being a resident of the United States and not knowing who George Washington was.

"Roundabout" is great. It's "Yours is No Disgrace," but more accessible, and with more colour, from Wakeman's keyboard palette. I can't say I like Wakeman's style more than the gritty organ it replaced, but it was highly influential, and not at all bad. Classical and rock idioms mixed well.

"Cans and Brahms" is rather weak, a Brahms piece played straight through with various cool keyboard sounds. I understand that Wakeman was not able to contribute any original works for his "solo spot" because of contractual reasons, so I can understand the choice, and the resulting "album flow" is not negatively affected, if for no other reason than that I cannot think what other song could possibly follow "Roundabout."

Jon Anderson's solo bit "We Have Heaven" foreshadows his "Olias of Sunhillow" overdubs - quite excellent.

"South Side of the Sky," another full band piece, is enjoyable. Chronicling a doomed arctic journey, the song features well-contrasted "hard" and "soft" sections, like the best of Yes at this point. The hard rock drives the protagonists on like a blizzard, while the middle section covers their frozen bodies in a soft snowfall as their spirits ascend to a different sort of warmth.

"Five Per Cent for Nothing" is one of my favorite pieces on this album - a brilliant bit of oddity that is far too short. Bill Bruford's solo piece.

"Long Distance Runaround" is a band-oriented gem penned by Anderson. Much more conventional and shorter than the other "band" works, but enjoyable nonetheless. Sing it after a breakup or time of anger.

"The Fish" builds as it goes in the same fashion as "We Have Heaven" - both use extensive overdubbing. However, "The Fish" features Chris Squire's overdubbed bass guitars. The piece is in 7/4 time, and is a classic piece - very nuanced and even catchy, especially with the final vocal chorus.

Steve Howe's solo guitar piece, "Mood for a Day," is a fairly classic bit, but less experimental or showy than previous solo spots, Howe's "Clap" from the last album included. Nice, but not incredible. I, of course, cannot complain. It's warm and well-done, and fun to play.

"Heart of the Sunrise" is another essential work, featuring the most intricate interplay of "fast/loud" and "soft/pretty" Yes had pulled off to date. There's a bit of a "hidden track" afterwards, a snippet of "We Have Heaven" rounding out the album's vague "linked" feel.

Absolutely essential.

penguindf12 | 5/5 |


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