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Yes - The Ladder  CD (album) cover

THE LADDER

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.28 | 707 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Man Overboard
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Rick Wakeman wasn't around for this record. Make a small note of that, and then forget it. This takes NOTHING away from the masterpiece that is The Ladder.

If you're one of the many who believe Yes had their strongest ideas and focus with albums like Close To The Edge and Fragile, and then started to lose it around Tales From Topographic Oceans, never fear. The Ladder is their strongest, most focused effort since the early 70's, and for once, hindsight IS 20/20. Memorable, creative, powerful melodies? Check. Uplifting, spiritual, creative lyrics with a hint of cheese? You got it. Amazing harmonies from capable voices with character? Wow, that's here too! And those long-missed explorative song structures? Those too are back, only the noodling of past experiments is gone; every note, every solo, every single measure has more purpose than ever before. This is a Yes that's learned from its past mistakes. You won't mistake this for Union, that's for sure. The only thing missing is the lineup being 100% identical to the Fragile recordings. It's a shame that many will dismiss them on this merit, but I suppose that is the hard truth of being a prog band in this time of cynical fans.

Khoroshev is a keyboard wizard who never overplays, always keeps it tasteful, but knows when to pull out the "Wakeman special" that Wakeman himself hasn't been capable of conjuring in decades. Sherwood's second guitar is augmentive, never overbearing, adding subtle new layers and textures to the music. White's no Bruford, but if you felt he did the band justice on Yessongs, then you'll find much to love about his percussion here. As for the rest of the band? Anderson's voice hasn't deteriorated an iota, Howe hasn't played so energetically and creatively outside of his solo projects in ages, and Squire's Rickenbacker is no less of a monster, emitting the most creative basslines of his post-CttE career. And every musician contributes to the vocal harmonies, giving them the life and character that's been long missing.

Don't overlook this album. Some might find it hard to swallow, but this is as good as Yes gets, on par with the groundbreaking 70's material in an era where those words are considered blasphemy. 5 stars, no apologies.

Man Overboard | 5/5 |

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