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Yes - Magnification CD (album) cover

MAGNIFICATION

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 813 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Yes: Magnification [2001]

Rating: 8/10

Magnification, Yes's swansong before a ten-year dearth of original material, is one of the band's most unique efforts. Stylistically, this album is similar to its predecessor The Ladder, focusing on the fusion of the classic Yes sound with a more crossover-based (not be confused with pop-based) approach. However, the inclusion of an orchestra here gives the album a new level of sweeping symphonic sound. Unfortunately, this orchestration comes at the expense of keyboards; this is a major reason why this album is so distinctive. This twist in sound - combined with excellent composition and sterling musicianship - causes Magnification to be a success.

The title track opens the album on a very high note, with a classical guitar intro and an unforgettable chorus. The orchestration takes a larger role on "Spirit of Survival", providing additional intensity on the fast-paced sections and a medieval feel on the softer segments. Squire also sounds great here. "Don't Go" is one of the few songs here that falls short of excellence. It's a straightforward song (symphonic pop, maybe?) with some weak lyrics. I do enjoy the chorus, however. "Give Love Each Day" opens with a gorgeous orchestral intro, then transitions into a wonderful ballad with a powerful chorus. The orchestra gives off a Mellotronic vibe. "Can You Imagine" is short catchy track that's neither a full song nor an interlude. Squire sings lead over a bombastic orchestra. "We Agree" is a majestic track with beautiful orchestration and impassioned vocal work. "Soft as a Dove" is another short piece, consisting of Anderson's magnificent crooning, Howe's acoustic guitar, and soft flute playing. "Dreamtime" is the first of two amazing epic compositions. This song is a cornucopia of amazing musical ideas, including incredible guitar, Middle-Eastern influences, intense orchestration (including excellent brass and mallet work), bass wizardry, emotional vocals, and a dark conclusion. All of these ideas mesh into a cohesive whole that is nothing short of a masterpiece. "In the Presence Of" is a more subdued epic, focusing mostly on Howe and Anderson. This song is another masterpiece, and is strongly reminiscent of "And You and I" in regards to both composition and tone. "Time Is Time" is a short epilogue consisting of Anderson singing over steel guitar and cello.

Magnification is an excellent album; one-third of it ("Dreamtime and "In the Presence Of") is absolutely masterful. However, the album as a whole doesn't live up to these tracks. Regardless, pretty much every song here is excellent, and the whole album is a joy to listen to. This is a marvelous album full of compositional maturity, emotional performance, and musical finesse.

Anthony H. | 4/5 |

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