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FLY FROM HERE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.46 | 774 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Anticipating the new Yes record is clearly not something I would have imagined doing just a few years back. Even when the new lineup was in place and the announcement regarding a release date for Fly From Here came out, I was only slightly curious of what Benoţt David, Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn could bring to the band.

This was of course until I heard the single We Can Fly, which managed to legitimately revitalize my excitement for the upcoming full length release. The main reason for such a perpetual change came from the fact that the single sounded very much like a comeback to the classic Drama sound that I honestly never would have imagined hearing again on a Yes recording! So how did the record hold up to my expectations?

My initial spin felt very disappointing and I was almost ready to dismiss the entire release all together for its lack of any creative ideas and innovation. Come to think of it, there was very little Symphonic Prog energy here in general. Luckily, I wasn't planning on giving up my adventures in modern recording and carried on listening to it a few more times. These revisits proved to be very rewarding since I now, not only, had good knowledge of the individual compositions but also a much better gasp of the entire recording.

The lengthy Fly From Here suite is clearly the make it or break it moment for these types of side long suite albums (i.e. Tarkus, 2112, Foxtrot) and it wasn't any different this time around. The suite is divided into six parts with first and last serving as an overture and conclusion, respectively. It quickly dawned on me why this multi-part composition needed the overture since there was clearly not much else here that supported the illusion of a suite! Let's be honest here, Fly From Here is really not a multi-part suite as much as a few Downes/Horn songs mixed together into a medley. The transitions feel very rough and, come to think of it, there's really no reason of turning these fine tunes into a medley of any kind.

Suite-related gripe aside, We Can Fly, Sad Night At The Airfield and Madman At The Screens are very nice songs filled with memorable performances from all the players. A few of the melodic progressions feel a bit too safe for my personal tastes, especially the chorus section of Sad Night At The Airfield, but other than that they all have a legitimate reason of being here. Having said that, I feel that Bumpy Ride-section is plain weird, which in retrospect actually makes it completely hilarious! I see it as a Steve Howe trying to re-work the classic Genesis piece Riding The Scree, but you shouldn't really mess with professionals like Tony Banks! Just like the The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway piece, this instrumental pretty much comes out of nowhere and breaks the otherwise very stale progression. The hilarious part is the fact that they decided to add vocals to the end of this track in order for it to make more sense and make it coherent with the rest of the suite.

As for the rest of the album, there's actually not much to talk about here. We do get some lovely lead vocals by Chris Squire on The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be. Other than that, this piece is a complete bore. Life On A Film Set passes by pretty unnoticeably, except maybe for the weird "riding a tiger" lyric. This song will from now on be know as Riding A Tiger! Hour Of Need is another semi-obligatory awareness/message type tunes that would have made more sense on some cause-related album like Save Darfur or Japan Earthquake/Nuclear fund raising compilations. Solitaire is where the band clearly comes out and says - Sorry, but we've run out of material in order to make this a 50+ minute album so we decided to let Steve Howe run amuck with his acoustic guitars. The only saving grace comes right towards the end with the semi-memorable track Into The Storm. This composition is clearly here in order to remind us of the great Tempus Fugit off Drama, except not half as good.

I just realized that I actually enjoy to complain about this album, but to be completely honest here, Fly From Here is really not a bad album! It's not even close to the excellent material of the band's past, still I wouldn't exactly call it a collectors/fans only release either. There is a certain charm to these tunes that will rub off once you've given them a few spins, just don't expect it to be Drama 2.

**** star songs: Fly From Here - Overture (1:54) Pt I - We Can Fly (6:01) Pt II - Sad Night At The Airfield (6:41) Pt III - Madman At The Screens (5:16) Pt IV - Bumpy Ride (2:15) Pt V - We Can Fly (reprise) (1:45) Into The Storm (6:54)

*** star songs: The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be (5:08) Life On A Film Set (5:01) Hour Of Need (3:07) Solitaire (3:30)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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