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Yes - Big Generator CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.54 | 1182 ratings

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4 stars "90125", Volume 2?

Oh; dear God in Heaven...what have they done?

Is it more poppish than "90125"? Oh, yes. What prog elements that record possessed have here been stripped away, leaving a surprisingly sturdy (it must be said) framework for a batch of some rather splendid guitar-based rock tunes. The atmosphere (a word I will never stop using) is well and truly maintained here, and there are traces of the past in the songs here, most notably in White's frantic percussive pummel (check out the opening of "Almost Like Love" for a taste). The guitars are heavier, the bass more up in the mix than usual, and the vocals seem to be a tad more harmonious than they were on "90125"; as much as I love that CD (and always will), it appears that Yes made a conscious effort to include more vocal harmony and melody here, and the results, found on such tunes as "I'm Running", "Shoot High, Aim Low" (my favorite song from the record, and my 2nd favorite song from the band) and the driving, flashy "Rhythm Of Love" are lovely, breathtaking, cinematic. And yes...ATMOSPHERIC.

All in all, that seems to be the driving force here; the atmosphere. Yes doesn't attempt anything off-color or ludicrous. Yes; it does a trifle busy ("Almost Like Love", after that blistering opening and the title track seem like random bits rather than real songs) but it's more than made up for by most of the other tracks, such as "Shoot High, Aim Low", a wonderfully orchestrated seven minute piece that Jim Steinman (himself a master of epic, Wagnerian pop) is probably still shaking his head over. After an opening of some ambient noise, it slowly builds, taking its time to form a gorgeously melodic track with a quietly breathtaking guitar solo. It's not technical, or even really progressive (as mentioned above), but to these ears, it's some damn good rock.

With all this said, though, I DO have something nagging at me about this disc. Rabin had been in several bands throughout his teenage and early adult years in South Africa. But it appears that Yes were his first taste of worldwide success. Rabin, though subdued and restrained, seems rabid, hungry for flesh and thristy for blood (in the form of more success). It comes across as if he's trying too hard; though the miles of guitar, keyboards and bass leave plenty of room for both Rabin and Anderson to writhe upon, neither seems to eye the entanglement with much gusto. I rate this a four, most definitely...but I have to wonder just what Rabin's trying to prove.

nahnite | 4/5 |


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