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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover

FRAGILE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 2415 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Warthur
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Rick Wakeman joins the Yes fold for this album, which is about as fragmentary as the disintegrating planet on the cover! Whilst the full-band compositions on this album are legendary, and deservedly so - Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, and Heart of the Sunrise are upbeat, foreboding, and uplifting epics respectively, whilst Long Distance Runaround is a delicious slice of Yes-ified pop whose simple structure is spiced up by Rick's synth interjections and other instrumental outbursts - the album is interspersed with shorter tracks intended to showcase each individual member's own skills.

These are a bit of a mixed bag. Wakeman's Cans and Brahms is a decent enough Brahms adaptation, showcasing both Rick's legendary instrumental ability and the potential of the range of synthesisers available to him. As a way of introducing him to the band's audience, it's reasonable enough - and since it's suggested that one of the reasons Tony Kaye left the band was down to his unwillingness to use newer keyboards, whilst Wakeman was more than happy to embrace any new technology that came his way, it makes sense that the band would be glad to accept a demonstration of the capabilities of Rick's equipment. But the fact is that it feels like a cross between an audition tape and a tech demo, rather than a fulfilling piece of music in its own right. Likewise, Jon Anderson's own We Have Heaven is technically innovative - Jon creating a wall of sound using only a multitrack studio and the power of his own voice - but it feels like a rough sketch paving the way to his first solo album.

The second side features solo compositions by Bruford, Squire, and Howe, and I personally find them to be a bit more engaging, but even so they do seem to serve little purpose beyond breaking up the full-band songs - and those songs are so wonderful that it seems like a waste of valuable space on the record to pad it out with this lesser material. Had the solo items been dropped, we could have had another 10-minute group track on here, and I'd have had no trouble giving the album five stars. As it is, I'll put it down for four - there's some really excellent material on here, but it's just too fragmentary to quite come together to a cohesive whole.

Warthur | 4/5 |

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