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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4102 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This one's heralded as one of the all-time classics and there's no reason to disagree - here are three songs which encapsulate the idea of progressive rock and imbue it with the "special" magic that allows it to be timeless, as well as so many peoples' favourite record.

For some, it's hard to find anything wrong with "Close to the Edge"; being more merciless, I sat here and tried for a few minutes only to generate niggles such as "I've never agreed with the track order", or "This is far too upbeat and cheerful for me", neither of which detract from the actual music. The production quality isn't really all that amazing (despite the band's embrace of studio technology) but it's hard to think of a recording technique that could live up to the fairly bizarre Yes sound - goofy, moogish portamento gulping, cheesewire guitar whines and especially Jon Anderson's accented angel approach add up to a band identity that registers as odd no matter who was behind the desk. At least Squire and Bruford made for a relatively sane backing section.

"Close to the Edge" is of course the (regretably front-loaded) defining moment of the album and has all the proggy dynamics and shades, where every player shines in turn, although Squire and Bruford seem to play tightly enough to count as one super-musician. It features the legendary Wakeman double (or triple, depending on who you ask) keyboard solo which is good enough to be billed as such, being fairly musical rather than all fireworks on ice. I won't write anymore about this epic because of the sheer breadth of reviews already dedicated to analysing the hell out of it - I'll just mention that at one stage of my prog journey, I listened to the song every day and it often made me weep with joy. Sappy, I know. Although the song is basically uncopyable, credit must go to Ruinzhatova's faithful, noise-psyche rendition of the tune.

"And You and I" is the song that prevents me from giving this thing full marks - yes, I'm a selfish rater - and is a slow, trundling cheese mammoth full of curdling sevenths and drawn-out pomp. I appreciate Steve Howe's attempt at saving the song with sensitive playing here and there, but the synth section steamrollers the string sensei and, well, oh god! It's full of Wakeman. "Siberian Khatru" is twice as neato and actually rocks, which is what the album needed straight after "Close to the Edge" - yes, my track order niggle has recurred - and it's here you realise that Yes really like the I - IV was-played-out-by-the-start-of-the-sixties chord progression and it really makes their songs better. The "ba-ba-ba" bit near the close of this rocker restores my faith in prog. In fact, the only way this closing tune pesters me is by having an obvious and barebones ridiculous timing pattern is just prog for prog's sake and only serves to force Steve Howe into squelching his accompanying twiddliness into one beat less. Hurray for musical invention.

Another man's masterpiece and perhaps yours, too. Personally I'll save my five star ratings for the moodier side of our beloved genre. In any event, congratulations to Yes for penning such an enduring album.

laplace | 4/5 |


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