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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.78 | 1648 ratings

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4 stars One of the most controversial items in the Yes catalogue: the Yes album without Jon Anderson. The Yes album that doesn't sound like a Yes album.

When Wakeman and Anderson both left the band in quick succession, I'm certain few could have predicted that their replacements would have been Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn, who had previously recorded as the futuristic art-pop duo the Buggles ("Video Killed The Radio Star" was their big hit).

Surprisingly, the duo are more than up to the task. Downes seemed to own one of every keyboard available circa 1979 and knew how to use them, so he more than holds his own when compared to Wakeman or Moraz. Horn, while certainly no Anderson, has a pleasing vocal timbre and fits the music well.

It's Howe and Squire who are the real show here. Unfettered by Anderson's airy conceptualism or Wakeman's classical leanings, the two are given free rein to fill the album with wall to wall guitar and bass riffs. "Machine Messiah" and "Tempus Fugit" are probably the finest examples, both brimming with some of Howe and Squire's most over-the-top (in the best sense of the term) playing.

Most of the lyrics have a futuristic, sci-fi feel to them, which is quite different from Anderson's mix of Eastern spiritualism and folksy English whimsy. As a result, the album has the feel, not so much of a Yes album, but a progressive rock project that just happens to feature Howe and Squire. If you go in with these expectations, you will not only not be disappointed, but even quite pleased with what you hear.

Progbear | 4/5 |


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