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Yes - Tormato CD (album) cover

TORMATO

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.94 | 1077 ratings

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TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Yes had gone pretty much as far as the could figure out how to on Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans, and Relayer. On Going For The One, they proved that they knew how to write music of various moods quite excellently.

They found themselves in '78, being regarded as dinosaurs as the musical landscape shifted away from progressive rock, yet fully accomplished in the genre they had been a huge part of. So what did they do? The made Tormato.

With 8 tracks, this album had the most songs since Fragile, although this time they are all band pieces (unlike fragile, which was 4 full on songs and five solo pieces). All the songs are short, with On The Silent Wings of Freedom being the longest at just under 8 minutes. For sure, Yes had decided to play a little differently this time.

What we find here is a bit more playful Yes than we had had before. They had proven all that they could do, so were free to play around a bit more with lyrical themes that might never have graced previous Yes albums...lyrical things where the lyrics were more 'concrete' than "A seasoned witch can rearrange your liver", "High Vibrations Go On", or "Chased amid fusions of wonder." Instead, Yes find themselves singing about saving the environment, love, and a Circus from Heaven.

This gives the album its own charm, but makes it far less essential than the previous 6 Yes albums. The opener, Future Times/Rejoice, is a nice upbeat song that is always fun to hear but never really leaves much of an impact when it's over. Don't Kill The Whale features Yes singing to save the environment, including Jon Anderson singing "Dig It, Dig It" (no blame could be placed on any Yes fan surprised by this). Madrigal is a nice acoustic piece that, again, does not leave much of an impact after it's over.

Release Release is another nice, upbeat track, about similar in quality and feel to Future Times/Rejoice. This is a song that is simply about the joy of Rock and Roll, and shows that Yes, despite all that they had done before, really appreciated standard rock and roll music. It even features an audience cheering in the middle, reflecting the connection between performer and listener.

Yes gets a little silly with the next couple of tracks, Arriving UFO and Circus of Heaven. Any Yes fan who had spent hours bragging to his friends about why Yes' incomprehensible lyrics and amazing musicality made them awesome probably did not show either of these songs to those that they had bragged to, for they are pretty much the opposite of those tracks. Fun little tunes, although again they don't leave much of an impact, and they even feel a little awkward. Circus of Heaven features a cameo by Jon Anderson's son, Damien, at the end, which is somewhat cute but again must have come as a huge surprise to Yes fans who loved their previous work.

Onward, the next song, is probably the song that's most explicitly a love song that Yes has written since Steve Howe joined the band. It is pleasant and one of the better songs they penned in this era, although not the best version of the song.

On The Silent Wings of Freedom is a rocking track with catchy bass lines (which Chris Squire would feature in the WhiteFish solo section of their concerts in the future). Overall, it does not quite do as much as any recent Yes song that has been around the 10 minute mark since they released The Yes Album.

The best songs are probably Don't Kill The Whale, Onward, and On The Silent Wings of Freedom. The ironic part is that, the versions of Don't Kill The Whale and Onward on this album are not the best, and On the Silent Wings ... is far from essential. Live versions of Don't Kill The Whale is much more powerful live; check out the 'Live at Montreux 2003' version. Onward is pleasant here, but it is beautiful live on Keys to Ascension 1, where it is dominated by Steve Howe's guitar rather then Rick Wakeman's keys.

If you are a fan of Yes, this album could be a great listen, although it will not follow any preconceived notions about what a Yes album was up to this point. If you are not, there really isn't anything so great in this album that you should purchase it.

TheGazzardian | 2/5 |

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