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Yes - Keys to Ascension 2 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 585 ratings

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el böthy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The second of the Keys to Ascension albums, this one, unlike the previous one, focuses more on the new material rather than the live one, giving each one CD, unlike the other one, that had one CD and a half for the live songs and just two new numbers.

The live album has some strong songs, specially the classic's I've seen all good people, Going for the one, Close to the edge, Turn of the century and And you and I. . I have just called 5 songs out of the 6 here classics. well, they are! For the other one is a somewhat forgotten song of the second album: Time and a word, and while it's not a bad song, it´s just not at the same level as the other ones. Out of this 6 songs the best ones are Turn of the century (which might even be better than its studio version) and And you and I, there is something about this song, I have heard it live many times, and it's always a highlight. Going for the one is also very nicely done, also possibly better than its studio version. I've seen all good people is one of those songs we have heard so many times it begins to get old. Nothing new about this one, I even thing that the Your move section is a bit weak as so is the bridge. Now, Close to the edge, which is not only Yes's best, but also Prog´s in general (do not argue here, you know I'm right!) is not up there with the studio version. and it's no surprise. I can't imagine a live version being better than the perfection achieved in the studio; still, on its own, it's quite good I must say. The only let down are Wakeman´s keys, they sound too "plastic", too "unnatural" sort of speak, at least for the band, I much rather have the old synths, or the new ones, Wakeman´s keys now sound much better than the ones he used in the ´90. Overall a good live set, but not as strong as others by them.

Now, let's get to the new stuff, shall we? The second CD opens with Mind Drive, an 18 minutes epic full of everything we love about Yes, but with a really modern feel to it, they didn't look back on this one. By far the best song of the album, a real good one, possibly their best of the ´90. Possibly? No, certainly!!! The other songs sadly are not up there with Mind Drive. Foot prints starts off very promising, but after a while it just drags and the lack of instrumental power makes it a little boring. Still, the opening vocal harmonies are some of Yes best! Bring to the power is a poppy song with some nice instrumental breaks here and there, but it's just too poppy to be good, at least for Yes. Worst track by far. Children of the light might also suffer from being a bit too poppy for its own sake, but this one is rather good I must say. But again, those ´90 synths sound awful. This is definitely more of an Anderson composition, that's quite clear. Sign Language is an instrumental piece (quite rare for Yes, if you take in consideration they didn't do this since Fragil). Here Wakeman lays down some atmospheric layers while Howe solos over it. It might not be a very powerful song, but I think it works quite nicely as a closer.

Overall, with this one Yes shows us that they can still write good stuff, but they just need to point to the "right" direction. Had all songs be as good as Mind Drive and Children of light, this might have become a little ´90 jewel.

el böthy | 3/5 |


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