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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 1597 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Not only did Rick Wakeman leave Yes in 1979, but so did their lead singer Jon Anderson. Chris Squire recruited vocalist Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes from the new wave band The Buggles to replace them. The Buggles? Yep, that's right. And what is so surprising about it, is that this new lineup's 1980 release of Drama was the most progressive output the band had made since Relayer. But it's not as surprising as one might think. True, the Buggles were into making that synthesized new wave music that became popular in the early 1980s, but both Downes and Horn were long-standing fans of Yes.

Drama is vastly underrated. I repeat, VASTLY underrated. Going for the One saw Yes move away from their three-songs-an-album days, and Tormato saw their transformation into mediocrity. Yes, there was some good material on those two albums, but much of it was uninspired. Drama is more or less a mix of the best of those two albums and their classic period. Clearly Downes and Horn breathed some fresh new air into a group that was deep in the doldrums.

Squire's bass playing on this album is phenomenal, on par with his work on Relayer. Steve Howe's guitar work on this is also fantastic and complements Geoff Downes on the keys. The production on this album is also significantly better than the previous two and that may have been a result of bringing Eddie Offord back as a co-producer.

Trevor Horn's voice takes a little getting used to, especially after hearing Jon Anderson's voice since the band's first album in 1969. Horn can't compare to Anderson. But if you let his voice sink in after awhile, you'll find he's quite competent at singing this style of music. His voice is actually quite similar in tone to Chris Squire's voice.

Unfortunately, this was the last incarnation of this new lineup and Yes would split up in 1981 with Downes and Howe joining Asia, Horn pursuing music production, and Squire and White pursuing other projects (like the XYZ project with Jimmy Page). As I said before, this one is often overlooked and is a vastly underrated gem. A masterpiece to my ears and the last real prog rock we would hear from Yes for quite some time. Five stars.

progaardvark | 5/5 |


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