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Anderson Bruford Wakeman  Howe - Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe CD (album) cover


Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe


Symphonic Prog

3.21 | 328 ratings

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1 stars Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! Another desperately disappointing attempt by members of the the once great Yes to update their sound and emulate past glories, this spin-off effort from 1988 must surely rank as the genuine career nadir for all involved. For those of you who don't know the full story, Yes started to fragment at the end of the 1970's for a number of reasons. Punk rock, internal tensions, commercial failure and financial difficulties all combined to spell the end for this once pioneering group, with Rick Wakeman leaving in 1975(only to return in 1977 and then leave again in 1978) followed by lead-singer Jon Anderson in 1979. Guitarist Steve Howe would cling on for a brief while, forming one fifth of the line-up for the disastrous 'Drama' album from 1980, which featured the pop duo Buggles(vocalist Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes) along with bassist and group mainstay Chris Squire and long-term drummer Alan White. 'Drama' was an insipid attempt to modernise the Yes sound whilst simulteneously retaining the prog elements of the glory years, and in the aftermath of it's release Howe finally relented and quit, joining up with Downes, ELP's Carl Palmer and ex-King Crimson and Family bassist- and-vocalist John Wetton to form the pop-rock super-group Asia in 1982. The same year would see Yes on their last legs, and Horn would be the next to depart, leaving a nucleus of just Squire and White holding the fort. However, success would prove to be just around the corner, as the remaining twosome teamed up with South African singer-songwriter Trevor Rabin, original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye and a returning Jon Anderson to release 1983's '90125', a streamlined, commercially-orientated pop-rock comeback album that sold over 3 million copies in the USA and became, to date, the most successful Yes album of all time. Thought by many to be finished, Yes were back and they had a brand new audience and a hip new sound. '90125' was followed-up in 1987 by the less-popular but still remarkably successful 'Big Generator', which featured the same line-up, before Anderson would again walk, this time joining up with Rick Wakeman, former drummer Bill Bruford(also ex-King Crimson and Genesis) and Steve Howe, who had left Asia after two successful albums. The foursome de-camped to Air studio's in Montserrat(!), and the result was this synth-heavy catastrophe of an album. Simulteneously, Squire, White, Kaye and Rabin were touring as Yes, and the group, who were used to acrimonious relations, found themselves split from their former band-mates by one mother of an almighty schism. Of course, 1991 would see both groups join up for the very mediocre 'Union' album and tour, but that's a story for another day. 'Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe', with it's tacky keyboards, lifeless melodies and outmoded 'hi-tech' effects proved to be a thoroughly dreadful attempt to re-create past glories with seemingly superior technology. In fact, the album seems much more dated than any of their 1960's or 1970's output, showing just how ill-judged much of the sounds, technique and actual music from the 1980's were. At the same time that ABWH were coining this dreary mess neo-prog bands such as Abel Ganz, who had infinitely lower recording budgets, were writing great albums like 'The Danger Of Strangers', showing that there is no substitute for youthful vigour. Considering Yes have not made a decent album since 1977's 'Going For The One', ABWH is in good company. Those looking for something outside of the classic era Yes albums such as 'Close To The Edge', 'Fragile' and 'Relayer' are advised to look elsewhere for their symphonic thrills and check out the likes of British bands Druid and England, and American proggers Starcastle. Though this album is titled 'Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe' it is very much a Yes product. Asked if the album is any good, this reviewer replies with the emphatic answer: No! No! No! STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 1/5 |


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