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Yes - Tormato CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.98 | 1543 ratings

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2 stars This is an odd place to start reviewing Yes's albums, but after a long period of time, I gave this one another listen and decided to write my impressions on it.


Future Times/Rejoice, that in its comparatively short 6 minutes contains all the distinguishable elements of Yes sound, opens the album. Not up to their best, but pleasing and worth the listen. Don't Kill the Whales catches your attention for the good guitar work. It's listenable but not particularly memorable - like Madrigal, that actually sounds very close to a song of the same name by Rush from Farewell to Kings. Release, Release is more of straight-forward rock and roll, also nice guitar, some strange and absolutely pointless crowd noises that confesses its intention - sound like Arena Rock. Arriving UFO and Circus Heaven doesn't really have much to display.

The greatest moment of the album, to me, is Onward, a beautiful ballad written by Chris Squire. One should listen to it not expecting the typical Yes, but judging it by what it proposes itself to be: a beautiful, moving love song, a task that it fulfills with honours, mostly because of Jon, in what I consider one of his best vocal performances, but also because it is very well-crafted as a whole: simple, yet nice lyrics, great melody and effective, minimalistic guitar that fits perfectly with the orchestration. Some have written that it is repetitive, but one should really pay attention to the details and try to catch the beauty of the instruments and its subtle variations. I feel it's really hard to keep indifferent to Jon's interpretation. "Well-crafted", actually, is an adjective that doesn't fit the rest of the album.

On the Silent Wings of Freedom, that follows and closes the album, is a completely different story. This one is supposed to be a classical Yes piece, yet it fails in everything those classical Yes pieces accomplishes: the bass might be technically impressive, but it's not captivating like others of Chris's works; Steve's guitar is pointless: it doesn't seem to fit in the song, like it was thrown in it randomly; and Jon's vocals, in clear contrast with the preceding song, sound strange and even off-key sometimes (or probably was it the whole band that was off-key). Many prog fans tend to applaud any song that is moderately long, has some tempo changes and sounds vaguely "epic". But really, this one is uninspired and can't be called a highlight only because tries be the most faithful to traditional Yes music: it pales in comparison to anything Yes recorded before in that genre, actually like most of the album


This album lacks cohesion, is a mix of disconnected songs that point in different directions hardly arriving anywhere. Of the musicians, I can highlight Steve's guitar and Jon's always sharp vocals, and it's no coincidence that when they both fail, in the final track, everything else falls apart. Most of the songs are never entirely good, and eventually it's Steve who saves the day.

The clear highlight is Onward, probably because it's the one song with a clear identity that doesn't sound like a parody of classic Yes, and sounds like they really put some thought in to it. Future Times/Rejoice is also a good moment. But then only three (maybe) good but (certainly) flawed songs and three disappointments - very little accomplishments for a band like Yes. So I give it 2 stars, but don't miss the chance to listen to it at least once to check out Future Times/Rejoice and Onward. Maybe you might even like On the Silent Wings of Freedom too.

bfmuller | 2/5 |


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