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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover

FRAGILE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.45 | 3645 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mark-P
5 stars Fourth album of YES, and the first to have Rick Wakeman in the line up. Not to look down to other YES formations (as each of them has unique features), this Squire + ABWH is my favourite one. The presence of Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman indeed contributes a lot to build genuine musical identity of YES. This album is also the first to use Roger Dean paintings as the cover, that brings another artistic feel to the album.

'Fragile' is one of the seminal progressive rock records, with at least two tracks 'Roundabout' and 'Heart of the Sunrise' to be considered among best progressive rock compositions. The album consist of tracks with full-length song, and some short solo tracks.

'Roundabout' is a true masterpiece, an eight and half minutes of musical journey that full with passion, twist and appreciable ideas that the band put in this composition. Its structure is well elaborated, but its complexity does not make it is less enjoyable. The intro itself is already iconic : piano notes (E minor / C major chord) that are played backwards and acoustic guitar lick. The beginning part of the song is really incredible. Howe's nice harmonic rhythm, Anderson's wonderful singing (and similarly for the chorus by the band), Squire's fluid bassline (one of his best basslines) , Wakeman's arpeggio play, and Bruford's cool drum fills. The transition part is also amazing. Bruford use many kind of percussions, with a bit of samba feel. After a short peaceful vocal passage, comes the interlude section, mainly guitar and keyboard solos before continuing to the next verse. The song ended with several bars of choir (with quite tricky rhythm time signature) and guitar lick similar to the intro , except that it is ended wit major instead of minor chord ? as the last twist.

'Heart of the Sunrise' is a vibrant and highly technical compositions. The long (three and half minutes) intro section is a showcase of how good the band chemistry is in performing a fast pace theme. The band members really play their part very well. Then comes the beautiful vocal section, with contrasting peaceful tone. The interlude part gives opportunity of guitar and keyboard to have solos along with the repeated main theme.

'South Side Of The Sky' is a rather dark song (some says it is about an expedition to southern pole that ends in disaster). I like the increasing tension of the song in the beginning, a nice calm section in the middle of the song and again getting heavier to the end, with several key changes. Rick Wakeman plays a lot of piano here. Great guitar riff and solo. I would actually hope this song ends firmly, rather than a fade-out end (the howling wind is not counted).

The other tracks are off course interesting. 'Long Distance Runaround' is a short song, but has interesting complex time signature. It is followed by 'The Fish' ? pretty much as fade-out section from the earlier song. Rick Wakeman's solo tunes 'Cans and Brahms' is an adaptation from third movement of Johannes Brahms' Symphony 4. Very creative adaptation with a lot of keyboard sounds that alter each of the orchestra instruments. Steve Howe solo 'Mood for a Day' is also one of his best piece, that together with 'Clap', are two songs he plays in live most frequently. 'Five Percent for Nothing' demonstrates Bill Bruford complex drumming. 'We Have Heaven' is a short vocal harmony with lighter arrangement.

Another great - or more exactly - one of the best album from YES, a must for progressive rock lovers.

Mark-P | 5/5 |

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