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Yes - The Quest CD (album) cover

THE QUEST

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.05 | 165 ratings

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avenger
3 stars My 8 Cents worth. DISCLAIMER I know its only my viewpoint and opinion.

I have listened to it now around 10 times through. I was very pleased with it the first pass, I had refrained from listening to ANY of it until the release, so I went in totally fresh to hear the whole thing at once. I did however read all the reactions for the past weeks, so I was imagining some pretty poor results, so granted my expectations were LOW.

I know that the argument for YES or NO YES is out there, and my view is that the recipe that makes YES the special band we love is the writing and chemistry of the big three: Jon A/Squire/Howe. those three are the ingredients that make the music that is the magical part of YES lore. Thus, for this album to feel Yessy its Howe plus the simulation of the other two ingredients(proving their importance to the recipe). BUT Billy and Juano do an outstanding job of providing the flavors needed to feel like a YES album.

So I knew going in that I was getting something that I am just lucky I am able to get at this point in the journey, some fashion of YES still doing what they can to make music. better than no Yes? arguable. After H/E I would have said YES! Stop now. But this album made me sentimental and touched a Yes nerve that I appreciate and allowed me to enjoy it. I was SOOO disappointed in H/E, mostly due to the incomplete production, clearly the album was released way before it was done properly. There were moments that showed great promise, but clearly their touring cut the process short and the decision(to Howe's point) to release it anyway was not too wise. So much of it sounded demo/like. The break in Living in a World of our own is so bad it hurts. So Quest solves that issue right off...the production is far superior. And the completion of the ideas is valid here, the songs sound DONE.

The GOOD: *Billy's vocals sound so good! I wish he would produce his vocals like this more often! *Billy's bass is very good too. Nice Squire ode. Fish is my favorite musician of all time, so I appreciate Billy as the understudy, does it well. *Juano sounds much more involved and comfortable. *I hate to say it, but even STEVE's vocals sound Ok here. Someone must have bought Melodyne or something...lol. Usually Steve is unbearable when audible! *No cheesy sounds from Geoff. Nice choices. *Songs are interesting, and well layered. Some glorious guitar for sure.

THE BAD: *the best part is that the BAD is not that bad to me. Mostly choices. which is the best news. rather than bad quality as in H/E. *the sad but true biggest issue is poor Alan is just at Ringo level here. ALBIET he is far far better represented than on H/E. But I think the whole of the limited power on the album centers around his limitations. I love Alan(met him, he is sooooo nice). But I wish Jay would have shared drum duties. *I WISH Billy had sung some harmony on all songs, more consistency with the three part harmonies would have served the Yes feel so much better to me. especially considering both Billy and Steve sound pretty ok on here. *I WISH they had built up some of the moments that had huge potential. a few I am sure we all agree were screaming to explode to grand levels. But stayed more subtle. *Geoff is far too low in the mix, and clearly the album is Steve-centric. I do pine for balance in key and guitar presence, that is a Yes-like approach. So I would have loved to hear more presence from Geoffs parts. *Beatle song needed to be JAPAN only!

THE ICE BRIDGE: I loved it. Very nice drive from Billy/kinda had that Spirit of Survival spy bass going on. Geoff seems most active here, but not sure how much came from the Monk piece(lol. not touching that one). I like the coda, the main riff is so good/Howe. The leads are ok all things considered. The singing is Jon A+D, a friend even asked me if Anderson had rejoined! lol. I love the subject and the lyrics. Great start to the album.

DARE TO KNOW: I was expecting a Burt Bacharach song based on what everyone was saying. I was so pleasantly surprised when I finally heard it. Beautiful Howe melodies on guitar. Love the verse guitars, and the main melody gets treated guitar then orch then slide...the melodies vocally are nice. I thought the song was a mini-epic in a very subtle way, again I wish it would have exploded, but alas it did not. NOTE: that last coda on acoustic sounds a lot like the coda from Subway walls? I was waiting to hear "transcend!"

MINUS THE MAN: finally get to hear Billy sing. He and Juano blend well together. This song is very Billy. Having his solo albums, you can hear his style in writing clearly. Really nice guitar added. I wonder if Billy or Geoff is doing the keys, they sound a bit Billy like. I know the song is mid tempo, but It doesn't bother me too much. I like the Billy vocal so I look forward to this song for that harmony reason.

LEAVE WELL ALONE: To me, this one and Dare to Know are the most intriguing and interesting songs on the album. Both have multiple parts that I cannot wait to get to as I listen. This one has that groove to open, but lots of guitar defining the melodies. I concede the transitions on this song between parts can me a bit of the weak point, but again Alan is not in form to be a huge fill power peak to enable part endings and punctuations. the verses are lovely on acoustic, and the riff guitar break is not the most impressive of all time, but its serviceable enough as a melodic guitar break. I wish again more keyboard was evident, that run with a strong Moog would have been cool. Now the BEST moment on the whole album is in this song, that coda....the chords are beautiful. and I give Alan credit for his best moment with those flams. This part starts and I am sure we all salivated hoping to hear it climb to Awaken or Wurm heights! lol. but that was not the choice they made, they kept it at the level of mini epic ness. I will say thought that this is my favorite part of the album. I would love to hear Neal Morse Band cover this song! lol, and just blow up that coda.

THE WESTERN EDGE: Billy's voice without multiple effects works for me here. I love it. the song has glorious slide guitar. and there are great moments of vocal harmony that make me feel good. Again, I wonder if Billy is playing keyboards(wink). they sound so solo album-ish. I love the acoustic verses. All the acoustic moments on the album are pretty nice. I can easily hear Squire singing on this(tear in my eye). The tempo picks up, so i think the slide guitar is what keeps folks from feeling this is an uptempo song a la Ice Bridge. Again, I wish that there was just a bit more distinctive keyboard playing here, to break up the paddy ness.

FUTURE MEMORIES: Great guitar feel. I like it. I love the melody of the vocals. Juano gets to write Juano. I love what he does. NOTE his two major contributions on H/E were my favorite moments. Here he continues the feel. I actually love the chorus, don't want to make another memory without you. I also wish Squire was around to sing with him(tear again).

MUSIC TO MY EARS: Ok, not a very Yes like title, a very Howe like title that Anderson would have changed to 'Earthbound Glider" or something...lol. The song is nice in the sense of the minor key melody is not too cheezy. the chorus melody is very nice, but the lyric is not engrossing enough for me. Not the strongest song on the album. But not as bad as I was reading.

A LIVING ISLAND: a pretty nice song. Somewhat straightforward. Finally some clear Geoff showing. the beginning sounds Gabriel to me. Once it gets going its a song I could hear Anderson signing. The breaks are nice with acoustic guitars. Again the keys/synths are low in the mix. The whole album I think misses the power of a good synths presence balancing the lovely guitar parts that take centerstage. The song ends with a pretty strong final part. I am sure we all feel/wish it would have elevated to a huge crescendo, it teases that, but again the choice was to be what it was. I can totally hear JA on this one! as a closer its a nice way to end the set.

BONUS: SISTER SLEEPING SOUL: should have been placed on the main CD, right before the Island. MYSTERY TOUR: cut it. dump it. never tell anyone you wrote this! lyrics hurt my heart. DAMAGED WORLD: I actually like this one as well, Steve doesn't sound so bad(as I have heard in the past).

overall. I am really enjoying this album a great deal. there are lovely layers to absorb. And I am very pleased that the production is well done(whether to everyones taste or not). The mix is well done(again, whether to my taste or not with keys). the drums are the obvious limitation, and Steve did what Trevor H did on FFH, placed them where they were not so painfully obvious...H/E Alan was forefront and brutally naked to his state of health.

I am very happy to hear that this is better than I imagined. Paul Mc still puts out music, and my best hope is that I get some sense of Macca, and in this case I can say my best hope is that this assembly gives me some sense of YES, and I say most of this surely does. even if a bit on the lite or trite side, it still sounds very much like yes.

Steve is the centerpiece, but thats the last real main ingredient, maybe thats the best course at this point.

avenger | 3/5 |

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