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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3177 ratings

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4 stars "Reborn, after TFTO!"

Listening and analyzing the Yes albums CTTE (1972), TFTO (1973), Relayer (1974) and GFTO (1977) I notice that within five years Yes delivered four totally different sounding albums, while Seventies Yes is legendary for its distinctive sound featuring the sumptuous Wakeman keyboards, the high pitched Anderson vocals, the virtuosic Howe guitar runs and the powerful Squire Rickenbacker bass sound. That tells a story how adventurous and creative Yes wrote its compositons in those years. During the concert of the previous album tour TFTO lots of people walked away, even before the break, they couldn't get into the music, especially the compositions on side 2 and 3, too much without structure. Rick Wakeman was so frustrated that he left Yes, in order to focus on his epic solo albums, close to megalomania. He was replaced by Patrick Moraz, known for his work in Mainhorse and Refugee. So every Yes fan was very curious how this new Yes line-up would sound, and the venomous music press was eager to nail the forthcoming Yes effort. I remember very well that I had bought the brandnew Yes album Relayer, I was fascinated by the Roger Dean cover art, hosting a snake, a symbol for rebirth. Well, when I listened to Relayer for the first time I concuded that Yes was reborn, after that boring and unstructured TFTO!

1. Gates Of Delirium (22:55) : It starts with captivating interplay between the powerful electric guitar and an almost cheerful keyboard sound, Jon Anderson his distinctive voice joins and gradually the tension builds with an omnipresent fiery guitar, and a growling bass. Then a mellow part with the focus on Jon Anderson his vocals. Again gradually it becomes more heavy and bombastic, Howe shines with his biting guitar sound. Halfway it culminates into a bombastic eruption with blistering guitar leads and sweeping drums, Yes as never before, high adrenaline Heavy Prog, agressive and dynamic, led by Steve Howe his heavy guitar sound, topped with inventive keyboard work by Patrick Moraz, and fuelled by a thunderous rhythm-section. Next a part with exciting steel-guitar and synthesizer flights, slowly turning into spacey, coloured with awesome, very sensitive steel-guitar play, mellow organ and dreamy vocals, finally even some Mellotron drops, wonderful! And what a huge contrast with the heavy and bombastic mid-section, peace after war?

2. Sound Chaser (9:25) : The intro delivers great interplay between the sparkling Fender Rhodes electric piano, a powerful rhythm section, and soaring Mellotron violins, then a bombastic up-tempo with exciting bass runs, catchy heavy guitar runs and soaring synthesizer strings. This culminates into a long and compelling guitar solo, from subtle volume pedal to agressive outbursts, like he is chasing after all kinds of sounds! Then dreamy vocals joins, followed by another heavy and bombastic outburst, featuring awesome steel-guitar, that growling bass and inventive work on keyboards by Patrick Moraz, topped with a mindblowing pitchbend driven Minimoog solo, and fuelled by a dynamic and powerful rhythm-section. The interplay is amazing, this a Yes that seems unleashed (and Steve Howe named this track as one of his favorites)!

3. To Be Over (9:08) : It starts dreamy with volume pedal guitar, the distinctive sitar and all kinds of sounds, a bit experimental. Then a slow rhythm with tender vocals and steel guitar, even a Hawaii guitar sound, a bit too sentimental for me. Halfway Howe starts to rock with his guitar, now it becomes more interesting, with howling and fiery runs. Finally again the sentimental atmosphere with tender vocals, to me it sounds like a leftover from CTTE (in the vein of You And I), apart from a nice Minimoog solo, some heavy guitar riffs and sitar in the end.

I consider Relayer as in interesting and at some moments very exciting Yes album, but not at the level of CTTE or GFTO.

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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