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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover

FRAGILE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 2484 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Sleepwalker
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Yes's 1971 release, Fragile, saw the band change their line-up. After Steve Howe joining the band and having a huge effect on the band's distinctive sound, now also keyboardist Rick Wakeman joined. Also, visual artist Roger Dean would start making the artwork for Yes's albums, which I think adds an extra dimension to the mood of Yes's music. This line-up would release two of Yes's highest regarded albums, Fragile and Close To The Edge. In my opinion Fragile is the superior of the two.

The album features some of Yes's absolute best pieces of music, as well as several solo compositions by each of the members of the band. Rick Wakeman is responsible for "Cans And Brahms", a piece that translates excerpts of Brahms' 4th Symphony into a piano and organ driven piece. Jon Anderson is responsible for the experimental "We Have Heaven", which is a composition driven by several vocal tracks, repeating several lines. "Five Percent For Nothing" is an experimental piece composed by Bill Bruford, which might make someone understand why he decided to move to King Crimson after Close To the Edge. The piece is pretty avant-garde, and though being pretty good I don't think it fits in with the rest of the music that well. Chris Squire's "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" is my favorite of the solo compositions. It starts with soothing harmonics, and as it progresses it will take the listener to variated sounds of Chris Squire's bass. In this piece he clearly shows what an innovative bass player he is. Howe's "Mood For A Day" is a nice flamenco piece, which demonstrates Howe's excellent guitar playing.

There are four band compositions and all of them are fantastic. "Roundabout" is one of Yes's best known songs. The formula of it's succes is very clear, as the song sounds groovy, catchy, powerful and very uplifting. This is among the best pieces Yes has ever made and it opens Fragile fantastic. "South Side Of The Sky" is even better and is perhaps my favorite song by Yes. It's pretty straight forward, despite it's length. The verses are very powerful, featuring a very thick bass and striking guitar playing by Steve Howe. The middle section features great piano playing and vocal harmonies. Very sudden the powerful verses return again near the end of the song, and Steve Howe closes the song with a guitar solo that slowly fades out. "Long Distance Runaround" is a catchy and jazzy piece. It features some excellent music and a lovely jazzy riff. The album closes with the excellent "Heart of The Sunrise", that starts out with a killer riff. Chris Squire's bass playing is astounding here, and Rick Wakeman plays the mellotron very fine. The intro drags on a bit though, which is the only negative thing I have to say about it. After three minutes the song turns into a more emotional piece. It features some haunting vocal melodies here and I can't find any negative things to say about it. The song closes the album with a brief reprise of "We Have Heaven".

Fragile is an excellent album. It features many of Yes's best pieces and shows the creativity of each of the band members. The album is an absolute masterpiece in my opinion, and therefore I rate it with 5 stars.

The Sleepwalker | 5/5 |

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