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Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe - Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe CD (album) cover


Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe


Symphonic Prog

3.20 | 385 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This naturally would be a YES album if Chris Squire didn't have the rights for the band name. it marked the re-union of the four members of the classic YES line-ups and the return to more symphonic prog after albums like 90125, Big Generator, or mr. Howe's adventures in Asia and GTR. Not surprisingly AWBH got a warm welcome from prog listeners at the time. Also I happened to buy it on vinyl (with that significant Roger Dean cover art again!), after hearing very uplifting 'Brother Of Mine' on radio. Actually the album was a painful-to-admit disappointment right from the start, and today, many years - probably a couple of decades - since I removed the LP from my shelves, I can say that I don't really miss it a bit. I still remember the album quite well. I think that is somehow revealing, speaking of the nature of the music. The tone is bold and mostly happy.

It has superb Jon Anderson vocals, it has colourful guitarwork of Steve Howe, it has keyboard mastery of Rick Wakeman, and the drumming of Bill Bruford (though sadly electronic in too many places). Tony Levin as the guest bassist is a top musician too, no doubt of that. But something is just missing. It must be the absence of Squire that prevents this album to sound like true YES. Or true anything. I'm not talking only about the sound per se, but rather the compositions. 'Brother Of Mine' probably has the highligh moments of the entire album but even that turns out to be overlong mess. Some other longer tracks are quite pretentious if not totally irritating. 'Quartet' cites classic YES titles in its silly lyrics which sadly lead the blatant music instead of music taking the lead. Here and there the music leans heavily towards the horrible 80's synth aesthetics. 'Teakbois' is a calypso mess which sounds ridiculous. The album ends beautifully with an acoustic, calm and intimate Anderson song 'Let's Pretend' (Vangelis had something to do with it if I remember right).

This phoney album is best to be compared to the notorious Union. It tries hard but mostly fails miserably. Several years later, with Squire in (and Bruford replaced by Alan White) they succeeded better on the Keys To Ascension live/studio hybrids to write new progressive rock of higher credibility. Not that I like them either very much.

Matti | 2/5 |


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