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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover

DRAMA

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 1191 ratings

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Philo
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were kicked out of Yes for being unable to come up with ostentatious parts for more outlandish and pompous Yes suites. This sounds rather unbelievable as Anderson was a key figure and an important member of Yes, and Wakeman had seen the band enter a new era and saw them through their, by that point at least, most successful period, broadening their sound which made Fragile and Closer To The Edge classic Yes albums. Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn, (the man with the big goggles) from Buggles were drafted in as replacements oddly enough. Buggles had a massive hit with their futuristic sound, at least futuristic where the late seventies was concerned I should add. They had a huge hit with a track called "Video Killed The Radio Star" which is actually one of my earliest musically memories oddly enough. I have never actually liked the song but have a rather odd fascination with it to some extent.

Drama was the album that emerged from that short lived collaboration. Maybe it would have been better to have released it under a different name rather than the Yes moniker. Yeggles perhaps. At first listening to Horns vocals I thought he sounded just like Anderson, but after a while there is very little comparison but that high pitch was enough and I guess I was looking for that certain squeal made famous by Anderson. Vocally Horn is not as acrobatic and lyrically not as vivid. Though the songs are interesting. "Machine Messiah" has a big riff from Howe and it's not a bad song, but it takes some patience from the passive Yes fan-like myself-to tolerate. Horn's vocals and lyrics have an insular quality to me and while I can float around while listening to Jon Anderson era Yes much of the songs of Drama are very lyrically odd and an obtuse quality while dark and edge ridden. "Man In A White Car" musically sounds like an '80's late at night low budget shitty cop show feel about it which is only made interesting by the vocal and lyric, though it is a very short song and I'm unsure if this is a good thing. "Into The Lens" is a ridged affair with a mantra of "... I am a camera, camera camera..." what ever the fuck that means and to be honest I'm not too concerned as from this point on the album tends to dip for me and all concentration fades and fails. But I have to single out Squire's bass playing which is arguably the strongest and most cohesive part of Drama and kept me alert throughout the duller parts.

And while not a complete disaster of an album I feel that Drama is definitely an album for the hardcore fans. It's a diversion from the previous Yes work but maybe an indicator and platform for future work and the addition of Trevor Rabin and the more focused if again experimental 90125 album of 1983. Was it a mistake to exclude Anderson and Wakeman from what would have been a more Yes ish album? While musically this album is more experimental and more heavy guitar wise I fail to see what Anderson and Wakeman did that so poor as not have been involved in this one. The songs are good to an extent but not all together incredible and certainly not as strong of memorable as earlier Yes work, yet more time would have been helpful as I sense a distractive element in the recording and little cohesion in the music of the five musicians. White's drumming is almost invisible to me. Like dumping your longtime girlfriend, meeting someone else but your heart is not quite in it and you know it's inevitable that you will go back regardless is a way to describe this departure from more "traditional" sounding Yes. A curious album.

Philo | 2/5 |

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