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Yes - Keystudio CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.55 | 467 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I have been a Yes fan since the early to mid seventies. They were the first prog band I got into (about a month before I got into Genesis). Like most fans, I think their best material started with "Fragile", and ended with "Going For The One". Every album at this time is a classic, with the possible exception of "Tales From Topographic Oceans", which I purchased on vinyl when it came out and found to be disappointing. However, I haven't heard it for years, so may have different views now. I have to admit I haven't heard every Yes album - most of the ones after Tormato are unknown to me, although I have heard a couple through a friend of mine. Anyway, I read the reviews for Keystudio on this very site and decided to take a chance on it, seeing as how everyone said it was 'back to the 70's' in style. Well, I have to say I haven't stopped playing it since I purchased it! It really is tremendous! Yes, it should have been the follow up to "Going For The One", it is that good. It has a similar sound and production to that classic, although does sound a little more modern. The opener, "Footprints", is excellent, Jon being in fine voice here, and Steve Howe sounding like the vintage Steve Howe from days of yore. In fact, he is like that throughout the album, with one brief, notable exception. Anyway, the opener has strong melody, maybe a little repetitious, but infectious. Chris Squire plays as he did in his youth, although I have to say, looking at the band pictures in the booklet, he is the member who has changed the most to look at! I wouldn't have recognised him. Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson have, by comparison, changed very little. Anyway, back to the music. Rick's keyboards are vintage here as well, carrying on where "Going For The One" left off. A good track! The second track, "Be The One", is another strong number, this one split into three sections. Plenty of melody here too, and excellent band work, with the classic Howe and Squire backing vocals in full force. However, towards the end of the song, Steve Howe's guitar, for maybe a minute, sounds so basic and tinny, that it made me wince! Not sure why he played it like that, but then things return to normal. Probably, because of that minor glitch, this song is my least favourite on the album, but that is only comparatively. It is still a strong and satisfying piece of music. Third song is the epic "Mind Drive". This lasts has been described as being as good as "Awaken". Not sure really, as it is a little different, but it has many subtle techniques and changes in structure in play, and is breathtaking with, again, strong melodies to the fore. Brilliant. Then comes "Bring Me To The Power". Another song, along the lines of "Be The One" in tempo and a little similar in style too. Very melodic again. Enjoyable! Next is the subdued and delicate instrumental, "Sign Language." This is excellent and serves as a prelude to the next epic, "That, That Is". Alan White's drumming is superb here, and throughout the album, by the way, but that goes without saying. I think the whole band enjoyed themselves recording these tracks. "That, That Is" is unusual in the subject matter, which concerns babies, drug users and more worldly things than Jon is usually describing. As we know, his lyrics are not always the easiest to understand. This is another song broken up into sections, seven of them this time, starting with nice guitar work, exploding into a fast paced and insistent verse, then slowing down again. This album is all about moods, and that is again wonderfully shown in the last track, "Children Of The Light". This is also broken into sections, three of them, like Be The One. This is the second shortest track on the album, only beaten to the number one spot by "Sign Language". It still lasts for over 6 minutes, however, ending with some nice instrumental guitar and as it finishes you get the urge to press play and hear the whole lot again! I think Steve and Jon have been the dominant forces for this album, although all band members get credited for writing various parts of the album. Apparently, these tracks all appeared on the "Keys To Ascension" albums. I, for one, am glad they were released as a single album. For Yes fans who don't possess this, and are unsure what to believe, as all reviews are different, I can definitely say to you all this is worth the money. In sound and production, it is closest to "Going For The One", but stands on its own as a superb album and a welcome return to form for a classic band. Their best? Well, some people might think so. For me, "Fragile" probably still holds that title, but this is up there with the top four or five. Fans of the 70's won't be disappointed, I guarantee it!
chessman | 4/5 |


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