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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover

RELAYER

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.36 | 2086 ratings

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Alitare
3 stars Yes + Heavy Metal = Not this album, no sirreee. What would Yes + Heavy Metal equal? Don't ask me, I'm delirious. This is more like Yes - Melodies = Kind of boring.

Yes - Relayer (1974)

Overall Rating: 10

Best Song : A few minutes off of Gates of Delirium, where the soloing is actually complimented by...I dunno, melodies? You know, when it goes all space-echoes on ya. Oh hell, TO BE OVER

Go ahead and start up the lynch mob, because this album sucks! Actually, it doesn't suck at all. In fact, it's got some absolutely stunning musicianship, except for Anderson's singing, which is predictably bad, and he's up to his usual emotionless space-yodeling. I can't but be harsh toward Relayer, because it's just as pretentious as Close to the Edge, but without any real melodies, except for the end of Gates, which is actually really good. Aside from the few minutes of beautiful music, and I can honestly say it's beautiful, possibly the only beautiful thing Yes ever did. Other than that, a good twelve minutes of the side long jam are predisposed to random, un-melodic jamming, that honestly doesn't have anything more to offer us than what somebody like Frank Zappa could have done in his sleep. I applaud the guys for being stellar musicians, and all, but whoever is responsible for their song-writing needs to be taken out back and beat to death with a big heaping copy of Tales.

Seriously, with an album like Close to the Edge, calling a beast such as Relayer unnecessary is simply not doing the album justice. It tries to be so many different shades of space rock, but they only come in one real color: boring. Most of the melodies and ideas are jazz-frigged rehashes of everything they've been doing for the past six years prior to 1974, especially the hard rock flavor of Fragile. This is definitely a scenario of writing vs. technical ability, where the latter's vicious victory is inarguable. Basically, each of the three tracks follows the exact same pattern as one another. They all start off as hot-headed jams, then Steve Howe shows us why we even bother to remember him, at all, then the entire band cuts to a suitable rip-off of Pink Floyd's Echoes.

That's why I feel as if this album could have been more richly rewarding. It had potential, I swear. when they aren't shoving as much complexity into each song, they can honestly craft an engaging musical atmosphere with some haunting drum attacks and the guitar's feedback-laden explosions set to an eerie astral background. But, the focus is too heavily placed on the big band hard jazz attacks, that don't do a damn thing for my rock out bone, and definitely don't do much for my heart. I suppose that a good majority of this record is entertaining, and some of the solo sections are executed powerfully. I never said these guys couldn't play their instruments, 'cept for ol' Anderson's singing, of course, which is just a pack of detached rambling about nothing in particular. What is it this time? something about the apocalypse, the gates of hell, insanity? Whatever, studying Yes lyrics is like counting the blades of grass in your back yard.

To Be Over, which contains some soothing, simple, wavy sitar, is my favorite part of the whole album, amazingly enough. It's structured like a neat psychedelic pop song, stretched out to nine minutes, which is approximately five minutes too much, if you catch my drift, but it's still nice, mainly because they seemed to have payed the most attention to the actual songwriting on it. To me, To Be Over easily trumps side one, but it's not enough to make up for the half of this album that just bored me, with severely restricted melodies and their painful habit of being complex and technical for the sheer sake of being technical and complex. Damn, if only they could have replaced that twit Jon Anderson with somebody else. I don't know, maybe Jon's dead-space whooping is what makes the rest of the band so attractive.

***

Alitare | 3/5 |

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