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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3011 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I've been into progressive music since I can remember, but I didn't actually know there was a term for it. I liked Rush, Floyd, Focus, and the other popular prog artists that clearly offered more creativity and satisfaction compared with most of the bands on the classic rock stations that I listened to growing up.

When I found out about progarchives, I of course gravitated out from a position of familiarity: Yes. I'd had Fragile, the Yes Album and 90215 (in retrospect, a motley assortment!) for most of my life, but never ventured too far from those.

Then came that fateful day when I had received a giftcard from iTunes from a family member that was burning a hole in my pocket. After a bit of searching, I found Relayer available for $3 (don't worry--I bought the CD within a year). This may literally have been the best $3 I have ever spent, because after getting hooked on Relayer, I went from liking extended songs to full-fledged progressive rock devotion.

Looking back, Relayer is certainly a great album, but I don't even rank it as a masterpiece. I love Howe's riffs throughout, Squire's rips on the Gates and Sound Chaser, and the excellent contributions from Moraz. The title track, with its cacophonic clanging and restrained craziness, really opened new doors for me. Sound Chaser is almost unbelievable to hear the first time, particularly with the segment that moves from lightning fast playing by the group straight into a Howe solo, in which he just lets it rip, Jimmy Page style (but of course keeping it uniquely Howe). I also love To Be Over, which adds another dimension of variety that fits nicely with the other tracks.

However, things such as Jon's "cha-chas" or lyrics such as "burn their children's laughter" strike me as so un-Yes that they just don't fit.

Relayer is similar to Floyd's Animals: they are breaking from past glory, and still have plenty to offer, but in some ways it's not genuine to their prime. Relayer will always have a special place in my heart, and even if it didn't would rank among my top 3 Yes albums.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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