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Jon Anderson - Olias Of Sunhillow CD (album) cover


Jon Anderson


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3.94 | 377 ratings

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3 stars What better way to harmonize with Jon Anderson's unique voice than with multiple overdubbed Jon Andersons? Well, I have one: Chris Squire. And since everyone else seems to be mentioning their favorite Yes solo work, I'll suggest Squire's Fish Out of Water. Although Anderson does create unique and captivating harmonies throughout this album, let me put my vote in for the classic Yes sound instead. Surprising absolutely nobody, Anderson went completely overboard with this album--some parts must have nearly 20 of his vocal lines going at once, and of course the sound comes across as a bit muddy (no surprise given how things were overdubbed at the time) and phony.

To be absolutely honest, I don't personally enjoy this album, and I regret buying it (one of very few prog regrets, I might add!). That's not to say that it's bad music by any means, but it is a function of my distaste for the New Age style, and I now know to avoid it for the most part. Hopefully that can be taken as a caution: Don't buy this album simply because you enjoy Jon's work with Yes--buy it because you either like New Age or want to learn more about the genre. I also cannot really comment on the individual songs, largely because they really don't distinguish themselves from one another. Basically, you'll get plenty of spacey synth drones, some sitar-like plucking, some guitar strumming, the occasional percussion, and lots of huge Jon Anderson overdubbed harmonies. In other words, no rock whatsoever.

Despite overboard overdubs and general pomposity, this is a very pleasant album, and I certainly respect the time and effort that went into creating it. If you want to transport yourself to the fairy world of Olias that Anderson has created (which I have absolutely no interest in doing), this may even be quite rewarding once in a while. Personally, after owning it for a few years, I rarely return to Olias, but it is staggering to think that Anderson was once the shaky-voiced lead in the jazz-tinged rock band that was Yes just seven years earlier--and not the New Age diva that he is setting himself up to be with this album.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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