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Yes - Fly From Here CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.40 | 1025 ratings

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3 stars Let's face it; does a band like Yes really stand much of a chance these days for gaining consistent critical acclaim from the prog community in general? When you've released such pivotal albums as Close To The Edge, Relayer, The Yes album etc, unless you replicate them or better them (virtually impossible) then you're simply not going to win universal praise. Now Whilst Fly From Here is never going to trouble those albums in best Yes album polls what I can say it's a very good album, their best in fact since Drama. Yes may have released a few better tracks than most of the material on here since then, Homeworld and Mind Drive to name a couple, but for sheer consistency this one wins over everything post 1980.

So their best since Drama, coincidently (?) their last and only other album without Jon Anderson. Not surprisingly, Fly From Here is going to/getting a lot of parallels drawn with that album, not least because it reinstates the Buggles duo of Geoff Downes on keyboards and Trevor Horn, though this time in purely a production capacity. The biggest and most controversial change is of course is the replacement of Anderson with Benoit David, a former member of a Yes tribute band as well as vocalist with Mystery. It has to be said that despite my feelings that Anderson can't be replaced he does a fine job and was chosen because of his similar vocal register to the great man.

Musically Fly From Here comes across as a more natural successor to Drama than 90125 which practically reinvented the band. It lacks the power and punch of Drama being a more light and airy and melodic affair but in places it kicks ass as on Into The Storm and in places on the title track, the six part piece that incidentally began life as a shorter song in the original Horn/Downes days. It's no rival to Close To The Edge of course and is more a series of short songs revisiting established themes in places but what it lacks in musical drama (no pun intended) makes up for in some strong hooks.

Perhaps not in keeping with the overall feel of the album The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be, with Chris Squire on lead vocals turns out to be a melodic highpoint and a very acceptable rock ballad. Life On A Film Set is quite diverse for its short length but perhaps the albums high point is closer Into The Storm which captures the band in rocking mode with some strong hooks too.

Naturally for a band of Yes' ability they turn in a good performance with some particularly pleasing playing from Steve Howe including a solo acoustic piece, Solitaire. I was also pleased with Squire's bass work and Downes along with drummer Alan White do what's required without particularly excelling.

Overall Fly From Here is a very welcome return for Yes and whilst not a classic is a better album than I ever thought they'd make again after the disappointment of most of the previous post Drama albums. Those still pining for the old Yes can go and listen to the new Wobbler CD, the rest of us can just enjoy them for what they are now. Enjoyable stuff and worthy of 3 stars.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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