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Yes - The Ladder  CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.28 | 780 ratings

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2 stars Cynical it may sound but the cold hard truth is that Yes, possibly the greatest progressive rock group of all time, haven't made a decent album since 1980's 'Drama', and even that had it's fair share of duff moments. In fact, you'd have to go right back to 1976's 'Relayer' to find the last proper Yes classic. Since the group's early- eighties rebirth, when South African guitarist Trevor Rabin joined and helped morph the group into a hugely- successful synth-rock outfit, Yes have slowly faded, both in terms of sales and relevance. 1987's 'Big Generator' was probably the nadir, although 'Union', 'Talk' and 'Open Your Eyes' also failed to set the pulse racing. 'The Ladder', from 1999, was another attempt by Yes to re-capture past glories, with Roger Dean roped back into the fold to produce one of his signature sleeve designs and four of the group's classic-era members - Jon Anderson(vocals), Steve Howe(guitar), Chris Squire(bass) and Alan White(drums) - augmented by new boys Billy Sherwood(guitar, vocals) and Russian keyboard wizard Igor Khoroshev. Sadly, however, this is very much an album - and a group - both out of time and out of mind. The attempted mixture of classic symphonic elements and sparkly new rock sounds merely confirms that Yes' once distinctive sound has simply run its natural course, though there are shreds of interest to be found on 'The Ladder', most notably on the anthemic opener 'Homeworld(The Ladder)'. However, that nine-minute mini-epic aside, the rest of this uninspiring release simply has one reaching for the nearest copy of 'Close To The Edge' or 'The Yes Album'. Die-hard fans may well enjoy Yes' (almost) 21st century sound, yet for the rest of us this is very much an album-by-numbers from a once brilliant group well past their sell-by-date. In a word: dull.


stefro | 2/5 |


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