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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover

DRAMA

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 1132 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Even with the shocking (though thankfully brief) departure of lead vocalist Jon Anderson (and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, again), Yes continues being Yes- but this is decidedly Chris Squire's venture more than anyone else's. He tosses in bass riff after bass riff over the top of the rest of the music, and even does quite a bit more lead vocal work. I consider both of those things to be a very good change, but it's sad it took Anderson's absence to make that happen. One major consolation also is that Squire gets his punchy bass tone back after the abysmal sound he employed on the previous album. For once, the guitar and keyboards take a real back seat to the rhythm section. Of course the biggest change comes in the form of two Yes fans, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of The Buggles. The former steps into Anderson's big shoes, and the latter.into Wakeman's sequined cape. Neither are as good as the ones they replaced, but they do an adequate job, making this album a great acquisition.

"Machine Messiah" The flange-fueled introduction fades in to bring in a dark progressive structure, full of minor chords that ascend up two keys before giving way to an upbeat verse that, yes, sounds like Yes. Geoff Downes is lackluster compared to Wakeman (or Moraz, for that matter), but it seems he doesn't try to be nearly as flashy. Twice, Horn sings over some dark acoustic guitar music after which the introduction in some form returns. Then it's right back to the happy verse music. Now it's no secret that Horn does not have Anderson's range, but it really shows on this track; he reaches for notes and has a clearly tough time getting there. The second acoustic section is far more moving than the one before, leading to the sinister conclusion of the song.

"White Car" For such a short piece, this one is not a throwaway track, even if the vocal melody and the instrumentation are a bit strange. The lyrics actually refer to English musician Gary Numan, who used to tear through London in a white Chevrolet Corvette.

"Does it Really Happen?" This song, in various incarnations, had apparently been around for a while before it finally saw its ultimate place in a Yes studio album. This is, more so than any place else, Squire's moment. Not only does he kick off the song with a killer bass riff, he handles the lead vocal duties as well. I've always enjoyed his voice, and relish each chance he takes that role. Speaking of the vocals, the harmonies are well done, even if a bit unrestrained. While the song is nearly seven minutes long, the fantastic and funky riffs they used throughout begged to be toyed with as the basis for some additional instrumental work.

"Into the Lens" Again, Squire's bass is right up front. This song is very similar to good Supertramp, combining accessible elements with an interesting arrangement. I love Howe's subtle guitar work throughout, even if it's easy to miss on the first few listens. This song does drag on a bit unnecessarily, I think, but it's downright enjoyable. An alternative version appears on an album from The Buggles.

"Run Through the Light" This soft song was always a guilty pleasure of mine, with fanciful keyboard work and a fretless bass courtesy of Horn. This song shows plainly that, while Horn is a capable singer, he doesn't have a wonderful voice. I actually like Squire's vocals on the chorus much more; incidentally the chorus makes me think of The Police. Howe provides a decent guitar solo toward the end.

"Tempus Fugit" Despite being relatively short on the album, this is the second highlight. Squire's bass flies through the music, and the guitar riffs are exciting. The band's name plays a big role in the lyrics, and I've always thought they could do worse than using this song to begin a concert; it's almost like their own anthem, with that repeated line in all its variations, "an answer to yes."

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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