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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 1545 ratings

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5 stars I honestly love Drama. There you go, I said it.

The Buggles meant nothing to me. I cared nothing for their music at all. I care nothing for about 85% of the artists that Trevor Horn has produced, and I care nothing for Asia. But, as Yes members, on this record., Horn and Downs had a lot to give.

To be honest, and I'm sure I'll be shot for this treason later, I don't care that much for Jon Anderson. Love the guys voice, love the guys lyrics, but he seems like a bit of a pillock. And a pillock that is evidently difficult to work with.

I used to worship Wakeman, but towards the end of the 70's he began using some suspect sounds (culminating over 30 years later with the atrocities he unleashed on his own rehash of six wives... but thats another story), and that got gradually worse until the utterly dreadful solo that climaxed the partially excellent last cut on Tormato (Silent Wings Of Freedom). And then, as now, Wakeman thought that Jon was Yes and no Jon meant no Yes.

Boy did he back the wrong horse.

Geoff Downes used a varied keyboard pallette that for the age sounded good. He had the best hammond sound since tony Kaye got his marching orders, Widdled like Wakeman on a couple of cuts, and his polysynths sounded warm and rich, unlike the incessant quacking of the lamentable polymoog that Wakeman was being paid a fortune to endorse (or something).

The albums success or faliure, in most people's eyes would be Trevor Horn, and how well he could ape the much missed Anderson. And that is where we see results.

The vocals on Drama are as good as the vocals on any Yes album. They're in tune and they sound great. The three-part harmonies are virtually indistinguishable from the Anderson led variant. (For example, compare The Yes Album's "Yesterday, A Morning Came, A Smile Upon Your Face' and Drama's "Cables That Carry The Light to The Cities We Build". The timbre is virtually identical.

Naturally, sound aside, the songs are brilliant. Machine Messiah, is as the name suggests a heavy track that Maganges more variation, musically in the track than most bands do on an album. Squire and Howe are in thrilling form and White plays with as much power and excitement as he did on everything up to this album. It's utterly magnificent. The mood of the track is sinister, eerie in places and unrelentingly jolly (although that doesn't seem, curiously, incongruous) in others.

White Car is little more than an interlude, but taken in it's time, and considering what the Fairlight MEANT to music in 1980, it's remarkable how good some of that track actually sounds.

Does It Really Happen began life with Anderson and Moraz circa Relayer-GFTO and the demo I've heard is unfocussed and messy. This is angular, sharp and the arrangement has the perfect curve. Contemporary for the time, but in no way dated (which is more than can be same for it's successor).

If proof is needed what the classic line up had in store had Drama not erupted in 1979, one only has to compare the Anderson- fronted Dance Through The Light to the Horn-fronted RUN Through The Light. The Anderson demo was excruciating, with little more that the annoying Polymoog to carry the tune. Given breadth, scope and Howe, this track actually takes off and is a favourite. And Horn's lead vocal is quite excellent.

Tempus Fugit is well known to most Yes Fans due to it's turning up on compilations and is, quite frankly, some of the best arranging done by the band since Relayer.

If you haven't heard this album, you have two reasons to do so.

1) Everything on it is absolutely great

2)The Rhino remaster has tacked the aborted Paris sessions with JA and RW on it, so you now have a reason to own it, even if Yes without Anderson is inconcievable.

Bottom line, this album is worth even more now, as it proves Yes can make great music without the much loved Anderson out the front. And given what has happened in the last two years, this record is the only document of what a future Yes may be like.

If thats the case, I say bring on the future.

theinvisibleman | 5/5 |


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