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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4103 ratings

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4 stars Close to the Edge is a popular album among proggers, as the 1000+ ratings/reviews with an average rating of 4.63 as of the time I'm writing this go to show. The album is, in fact, somewhat of a legend around these parts. The classic lineup of Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman Howe and Squire is present, the tracks all display excellent musicianship/vocals, and the album art is amazing.

Things start off rather quietly in the title track, with some bird noises and running water slowly building up until the band comes in, full swing, to get the show really moving. And move they do. The beginning is a rather frantic passage, with everyone going a little bit nuts on their respective instrument. Near the three minute mark, things calm down a bit, and we're given a melody to hold on to via the guitar. Eventually, Jon joins in on vocals and the track continues on with Squire and Bruford being the great rhythm section we all seem to know (and generally enjoy). The track continues on until a change to a calmer, ambient bit around 8 or 9 minutes in. Nearly 10 minutes in, Rick comes in with chiming keyboards, then light vocals join in for a while, getting up and down. Things stay calm here for a while, the vocals are given a chance to shine until Rick comes in on the church organ for a bit of a solo. They trade back and forth for a little while, with Rick finally winning out and moving us into the next bit of the song. Bass and drums finally rejoin us as Rick switches back to a keyboard. Chris Squire and his Rickenbacker sound really help define Yes in my eyes. The track ends with "I Get Up", and then we're on to And You And I.

This song is a much quieter affair overall than the title track, and it starts the second side of the album. Mostly acoustic guitar from Howe and quiet keys from Wakeman to begin, with fairly minimal bass and drums. The song is more about the vocals to me than it is about the instrumentals. Near the three minute mark, Squire and Bruford get to play a bit more interesting snippet. Near the four minute mark, we get a nice instrumental bit, with Howe being in the spotlight here for me. Jon rejoins before long, and the track continues on. The riff from the song's introduction comes back for a bit, then changes up a bit and brightens the track up some. Eventually the rest of the band joins back in, and the track continues on until its end. It's a good song, but lacks some of the punch of the first and third tracks for me.

Finally, we come to Siberian Khatru, probably my favorite song on the album. The bass is good and chunky, the drums are active, Steve keeps guitar moving with a fun riff, Rick plays some tasteful keys, and Jon sings about whatever a Khatru is in his mind. Everything seems to work well on the song, and it seems to be just the right length. The rhythm section is probably my favorite part of it, if I had to choose. Not a surprise, though, as 1) I'm a bassist and 2) this is, as far as I'm concerned, the best rhythm section in symphonic prog.

Overall, the album is great, but as I prefer two other Yes albums over this one (Relayer and Tales From Topographic Oceans), I can't justify giving it 5 stars. I will, however, give it a healthy four star rating.

SaltyJon | 4/5 |


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