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Yes - Tormato CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.98 | 1537 ratings

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3 stars The late 70's. When a lot of our heroes went broke, got fat, couldn't keep up with the times and still had an album or two left on their contracts. While groups like ELP were making "Love Beach, Genesis were starting their conversion to pop and Gentle Giant were defecating "Giant For A Day" on their fans. Yes were no different at this time, they were reaping the painful realities of the excessive lifestyles they were enjoying just a couple of years prior. Selling off their expensive cars and houses and going on tax exile to Switzerland. Prog rock in 1978 was now no longer in style as the bands were already considered dinosaurs. Rock fans were feeling more and more alienated by the huge, behemoth bands and getting more anamored with the accessibility of punk, new wave and especially disco. These set of circumstances ripped right through most of these bands leaving many casualties in its wake. Yes, at this point were still a concert draw and decided to wring out the last bit of creativity they could muster. Trying to scale back the complex song structures and longer pieces and write tighter more concise songs while keeping the fans happy will prove to be too big of an undertaking. While there are good and bad tracks on this album, the bad ones really do a number on this album and the good ones aren't good enough to elevate it. Also there is the squashed compressed sound of this album with everyone fighting for space thus creating a musical mess. There are too many instances of lyrics being forced to fit, too many moments of serious corn, terrible synth sounds and above all, they were not able to fit in with prog or the new wave. There was also the terrible album cover. Roger Dean again was not available and the job once again went to Hypnosis, who have done nice covers before but can't seem to do a good one with Yes.

The great: None. Nothing great here. Some great parts but no great songs.

The good: Future Times/Rejoice, Don't kill The Whale, and On The Silent wings of Freedom. I have always liked the way the album kicks off. The compressed sound is annoying but these songs aren't bad. Except for the overly corny synthesized whale sounds on DKTW. On The Silent wings of Freedom is probably the best tune on the album and its most prog-like.

The pretty good: Onward, Madrigal. Onward being a sappy ballad but done nicely with Howe playing a pattern while Squire plays a simple melody line. Thankfully no power chords! Madrigal is a nice but ultimately forgettable Jon Anderson ditty about celestial travelers sailing the seventh age living and growing inside of us(!)... Interesting contrast between a Spanish guitar and a harpsichord but it sounds as if they weren't sure which one would back Jon Anderson so they just used both. No interplay really but noodling by both as if they are not listening to each other.

The bad: Release Release. Here they try to sound spiky or new wave. Corny moment of fake crowd noise with an uninspired drum solo. The TV commercial sounding ending doesn't help either. Arriving UFO is truly awful. Bad lyrics revealing Jon Anderson's dream of getting beamed up or something?your guess is as good as mine. Goofy sounds and a directionless song that just peters out after 6 minutes of your life go by. Circus Of Heaven. This is probably the most reviled Yes song of all time. Jon Anderson going on about the myths of the constellations and his young song voicing his displeasure of it not being a real circus. Cute moment with the kid? absolutely. But on a rock album?

So there you have it. It's not total garbage after all it is one of the best lineups of Yes and there is some good melodies and playing on the album-even on the bad tunes. But the corny moments, the horrible compression, the fighting for space and the lack of good songs, doom it. Two and a half stars rounded up to three.

ster | 3/5 |


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