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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3020 ratings

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5 stars Relayer is an album that took a while to grow on me, but at this point I think it ranks amongst the best work Yes have done. It's hard to get into at first, and I suspect many listeners are turned off by the opening to Gates of Delirium, which is extremely abrasive and chaotic by the band's standards, but after giving it some attention I've come to appreciate the song's structure, beginning as it does with some of their most complex work before the "battle" sequence resolves and the close of the song presents some of the most beautiful work Yes have ever done. The "Soon" section and Steve Howe's wonderful guitar solo during it, in particular, represents the closest classic-period Yes came to mainstream (if a bit New Agey) classic rock, and it's gorgeous. (For that matter, most of Steve's guitar solos are fantastic this time around, making this a great album for Howe fans.)

The second sides repeats this chaotic and experimental/soothing and beautiful structure, with Sound Chaser presenting a jazz workout and To Be Over closing the album with some of the most accessible stuff Yes had produced since Fragile. I don't think Yes could have pushed on in this increasingly-experimental direction indefinitely, and the break before returning with the much more accessible Going For the One was an excellent call on their part, so Relayer acts as the capstone of the first phase of their career; I can scarcely imagine how they could have done better.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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