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Yes - The Ladder CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 1020 ratings

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3 stars A caribbean prog sandwich with two 9-mintue slices of bread and plenty of latin-tinged filler.

This album is slightly overrated in my opinion. "People" tend to say it's closer to the classic Yes sound in style and shows a more directional and unified band. This is very much true, but I don't think it's to a great enough extent for it to qualify as excellent. In my opinion, 'Maginification' is the culmination of this retrospective "symphonic prog" style, with 'The Ladder' being the next step towards this; better than 'OYE' but not as good it's successor, 'Magnification'.

The title track is great. It's well constructed and features some well-played, albeit safe, solos. 'New Language' is another long piece, often overlooked, but no worse than the universally-praised 'Homeworld', with a more risky and interesting acoustic guitar solo from Howe. Other worthwhile tracks include 'Face to Face', 'If Only You Knew' and 'Finally', the only shorter tracks to have any memorable themes or moments of development. The rest is largely ignorable, although I can't review this album and simply ignore 'Lightening Strikes' no matter how hard I'm trying to. It is a VERY cheesey, cringe- worthyly instrumentated, latino-dance number with about as much charm as Robert Fripp on a date. But for some reason I seem to like it! There's something about this tune that makes me keep returning to it, in the same vein as ELP's ridiculous 'The Sheriff' or the Floyd's dire 'Corporal Clegg'. I literally don't know anyone else who likes this song.

With Dean back on board and less input from Sherwood, 'The Ladder' is well on the way to becoming top- notch Yes, but the overenthusiastic world influences and abundant filler prevent this album from reaching the same heights as it's orchestral follow-up.

thehallway | 3/5 |


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