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Yes - Fly From Here CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.41 | 1022 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars From the moment that I heard that Yes was working on a new studio album, I was stoked. It's amazing, really. Yes has managed to release at least on studio album for six decades now! If it weren't for that darn Fripp (King Crimson) we'd have a prog world record here.

Ok, we've established that I want to love this. Keep that in mind through the rest of the review.

Do you Yes fans remember1979-1980? Do you remember all of the anxiety that we felt with the news that The Buggles had joined Yes? And do you remember the sigh of relief we breathed when we realized that the Drama tracks didn't have the slick, plastic feel that The Buggles brought to their music. Even the tracks that weren't so good on Drama (half of them) didn't suffer from that. Well, if I was choosing a headline to describe Fly From Here, it would be this.


Don't cry. There are worse things than being slick and plastic. But that is my predominant impression of this album.

Chris has been lazy since 90125. There have been a couple of exceptions since (I'm Running is obvious and some of his work on the Keys albums was quite energetic) but he has fallen from prog grace and it's quite evident on this album. Steve has actually gotten better in his post- Asia (well post-FIRST Asia) period and he doesn't collapse on this album either, but I sure wouldn't call this the best work he's done in the last five years either. As for Alan White.... well it took his work on Keys 1 & 2 to finally get me to admit that he was Bruford's peer, despite excellent work earlier in his career with Yes. This album does not reinforce my opinion.

So, on to the substitute teachers.

Benoit gets a thumbs up. Sure, I'd rather have Jon singing lead, but Benoit is quite competent. When I think of all the subs that have been suggested for Jon in the past, I'm quite grateful that Chris & Co. went with Benoit.

Downes is my least favorite Yes keyboardist (unless you count live performances, where Oliver Wakeman barely edges him out.) That said, the Downes that we have on Fly From Here is actually an improvement upon the Downes we have from Drama in most ways. My truly major complaint with him can probably be laid at Horn's door as much as him. I truly can't stand that sharp piano sound he's using in the Fly From Here suite. You can hear it from the very opening bars of the Overture. It's sounds like Schroeder from the Peanuts pounding on his toy piano.

Horn gets a mention here. His producing is evident throughout the album. That's a major reason why I called this album slick and plastic. That's not all bad, btw. Horn has probably done a lot to give us a listenable album. But the word overproduced comes to my mind when I consider the distortions to vocals and percussion. I'm waffling on Horn's contribution here. He PROBABLY was a plus, but I'm not certain.

As for the material.....

The Fly From Here suite was developed from a forgettable song that Yes played live on the Drama tour. Kudos to all invovled for developing it into something much greater than it's beginning.

The Man You Always Wanted To Be and Life On A Film Set are totally forgettable.

Hour of Need would be totally forgettable if it weren't as good as it is. It's a weird track though. Somehow it reminds me of Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Solitaire is a Howe solo. Definitely not a homerun like we had in Masquerade off Union or his earlier Yes solos, but at least a single, and maybe a double.

Into The Storm is not great but it is kind of interesting and it avoids the slick sound that plagues most of the rest of the album.

I've been avoiding this. It's time for a rating.

Ok, I can definitely tell you this. This album is better than Open Your Eyes. It is better than Tormato. It is more consistent than Union. I'm waffling on whether it is better than Big Generator or not at the moment but it probably is. Given that evaluation, I'll say three stars. Good but not essential. But just barely.

ghost_of_morphy | 3/5 |


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