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


Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe


Symphonic Prog

3.21 | 284 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe: Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe [1989]

Rating: 7/10

This self-titled album from Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe is a product of Jon Anderson's justified impatience with the dreck Trevor Rabin was putting Yes though during the 80s. The band name, seemingly inspired by an accounting firm, makes it obvious that this album is Yes in all but name. In fact, ABWH is much more Yes than Big Generator is. Although this album often receives negative feeback, I've always considered it to be an excellent release, albeit with a few weak moments.

"Themes" is a strong opener. It starts the album with an excellent piano/synth intro and features excellent vocal work, particularly during the conclusion. However, one of the album's glaring flaws becomes present quickly: Bruford's mechanical and inorganic drum work; the repetitive percussion sounds like a backing track. This is inexcusable, particularly for a drummer of Bruford's stature. "Fist of Fire" is a short, synth-dominated track - nothing too special here. "Brother of Mine" is a fantastic ten-minute song. The first section is particularly excellent; Howe's guitars exude emotion and Anderson is ethereal. "Birthright" continues on this strong path, with classical guitar work and fantastic vocals/lyrics. Wakeman shines during the conclusion. "The Meeting" is an enjoyable Anderson/Wakeman duet. It's a pleasure to listen to, but certainly not the best song Yes has done in this style. "Quartet" is an absolutely wonderful song and is the high point of the album. It's a relaxed song that goes though many movements, one of which pays tribute to classic Yes songs. Anderson and Howe perform some of their best work here. "Teakbois" is by far the weakest song here. This is a lame samba/reggae song with 80s synths and formulaic guitar playing. I don't hate the song (there are some decent synth riffs and vocal hooks), but for the most part it's incongruous with the rest of the album and should have hit the cutting room floor. "The Order of the Universe" opens with a wonderful intro, but the rest is overproduced 80s rock. This isn't a bad song, but it is certainly the weakest mini-epic on the album. "Let's Pretend", a Howe/Anderson duet slightly reminiscent of "The Anicient", ends the album well.

ABWH sometimes sounds overly-polished, and there are some less-than-stellar moments. However, the excellent moments greatly outnumber these, and it's obvious that these four musicians are in their true creative element here. Despite the lifeless drum work and "Teakbois", this album is an impressive achievement, particularly for the time of its release.

Anthony H. | 4/5 |


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