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Yes - Union CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.50 | 967 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars When I stumbled upon this release, the all-star lineup thrilled me, which in and of itself was a harbinger of doom. "Yes is finally going back to prog" I thought. Oh, how wrong I was. Union is simply a mix of Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe and the then-current lineup of Yes. After constant legal wrangling between the two, a union seemed the perfect way to settle the squabbles and maybe put out some music that the fans could really get behind. Instead, we got Union.

The courtroom battles simply spilled over into the studio. Chris Squire, the founder of Yes, barely even appears, as the rest of the members involved had probably had enough of his rampant ego by this point and decided they'd rather let Tony Levin handle most of the bass parts. Despite the stunning amount of talent involved, label executives and the band itself crippled the group by producing a more song-oriented poppy album. The band is in such a egomaniacal quagmire that rarely does anyone shine. Occasionally, a song will have a good moment despite the band's efforts. This rare occurrences remind me of two arguing friends who refuse to speak to each other. Then, without thinking, they spark up a conversation before remembering their feud and parting once more. Howe gets in a very good performance on Masquerade, but the only player that consistently stands out is unsurprisingly the only player who was not a member of Yes. Session man Tony Levin leaves the others to their petty bickering and lays down some impressive lines, even if the songs they appear on are awful. Just goes to show what might have happened if the rest of the band had cared more about music than money.

This is by no means the worst Yes album. That dubious honor belongs to Open Your Eyes, an album that makes Big Generator look like Fragile. However, this is yet another stinker from the band, and things wouldn't improve until the excellent return to form Keys to Ascension and, later, The Ladder. The occasional moment of accidental unity and Tony's solid playing throughout make this only slightly interesting to fans, which is more than I can say for Open Your Eyes and Big Generator.

Grade: D-

1800iareyay | 2/5 |


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