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Yes - Union CD (album) cover

UNION

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.48 | 738 ratings

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Progbear
Prog Reviewer
2 stars It sounded good on paper: the FRAGILE lineup and the 90125 lineup uniting to make a Yes album like none before! Dual keys, dual guitars and dual drums! If nothing else, it could have been TALES-like prog overkill.

Hypothetically, anyway. The reality of the situation was this was used as an attempt to reconcile the legal wranglings over the rights to the Yes name that resulted in the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe album. The L.A. and U.K. versions of Yes already had demo versions of material they were working on. It's this we're presented with on UNION. Any hopes of Rabin and Howe (for example) playing side-by-side were dashed, in spite of what the "Lift Me Up" music video made it look like. Only Anderson worked with both versions of the band.

Mediocrity runs rampant throughout the album. Mainly the production decisions made to attempt to make recordings by two different bands sound like a unified whole swamped the project. More session players were instated on this album than just about every Yes album that preceded it, including a roomful of keyboardists that included Saga's Jim Crichton and Toto's Steve Porcaro. Evidence that Wakeman and Kaye actually played on the album at all is pretty scant.

Surprisingly, it's the Rabin lineup that comes up smelling sweet. "Miracle of Life" is the most progressive and most exciting song Yes had produced for years. The only song from the ABWH lineup that can compare is "Silent Talking", elsewhere the band are embroiled in sub-"Order Of The Universe" AOR stylings or indulging in sleep-inducing new-age.

Not the worst Yes album ever produced, as many will have you believe, but pretty far below what we know the band are capable of. A damn sight better than the execrable BIG GENERATOR, in any case.

Progbear | 2/5 |

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