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Yes - Magnification CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.73 | 1099 ratings

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4 stars Magnification is the 17th ( I count Keystudio (2001) as a compilation album not a "real" studio album) full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Yes. Down to a four-piece Yes now consist of Jon Anderson on lead vocals, MIDI guitar and acoustic guitar, Steve Howe on acoustic & electric guitars, steel, mandolin and vocals, Chris Squire on bass guitars and vocals and Alan White on drums, percussion, piano and vocals. Note the absence of a keyboard player in the lineup. Yes chose to include an orchestra instead. The orchestral parts are composed, arranged and conducted by film composer Larry Groupë. Comparisons to Yes second full-length studio album Time and a Word (1970) are inevitable allthough many things have happened to Yes sound after 30 years. Magnification was produced by Yes and Tim Weidner.

The music on the album is unmistakably the sound of Yes. Jon Andersonīs distinct and strong vocals, the great harmony vocals by the other members, the excellent bass playing by Chris Squire, the strong drumming by Alan White and the innovative guitar playing by Steve Howe. All accounted for and present. What sets Magnification apart from most other releases by the band since Drama (1980), are the strong melodies and memorable songwriting. All songs have several hooks and highlights which means that they stick in my mind long after Iīm done listening to the album. Something thatīs been sadly missing on many of the preceeding albums from the 80s and 90s. Itīs quite obvious that Larry Groupë usually composes music for movie scores because there is an epic orchestral element in some of the songs that could well serve as soundtrack music. An example is the full orchestra section in Dreamtime ( one of several highlights on the album that song). Other times the orchestra almost work as a keyboard would in the music just with that pleasant organic sound that only "real" instruments create. I donīt miss a keyboard player thatīs for sure. The album features one pearl of a song after another and quite surprisingly for me, I even enjoy the mellow/ folky Soft As A Dove. Other highlights are the strong opening title track and Give Love Each Day. This is through and through quality material though. There are no sub par songs on the album.

The musicianship is as always outstanding and the production is professional and warm.

To be honest I feared how the inclusion of orchestration instead of keyboards/ synths would fit Yes sound. After all Iīm not the most enthusiastic fan of Time and a Word allthough I do find that album enjoyable to some extent. Compared to Time and a Word the orchestration works much better on Magnification though. Itīs a part of the music and not working against it. After 20 years of sub par and mediocre releases with only very few progressive highlights, Magnification is actually quite the surprise for me. This is an excellent album by Yes and should this turn out to be their final studio effort they certainly went out with a bang. 4 stars are fully deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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