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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.46 | 4057 ratings

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4 stars Fragile was the record that cemented the strengths of the "Yes Album," but had a slightly darker, heavier feel. If only they had removed the filler solo tracks and replaced them with another longer classic like "South Side of the Sky" or "Roundabout" this would undoubtedly be a five-star album.

Rick Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms" feels stilted and contrived, and doesn't generate the excitement that he is capable of in his (sometimes excessive) live performances.

Jon Anderson at least gives us a little oomph with "We Have Heaven" but it's just a bit of studio trickery which becomes a little irritating on repeated plays.

Bill Bruford's "Five Percent For Nothing" is an interesting curio, nothing more.

Chris Squire's "The Fish" - again technically good, but doesn't have any great depth, and I can't tell you how many times I've sat extremely bored at a Yes concert waiting for him to finish his solo so that they could get on with the music - this could be the most self-indulgent piece I've heard live, going on for ten minutes that feel like years...

Steve Howe's "Mood for a Day" is technically brilliant but again falls short of the sheer exuberance of "The Clap".

Now to the main show - yes I know we've all heard "Roundabout" a thousand times, and that can devalue the impact of such a work - and yet I could listen to it a thousand more times without getting tired of it, and let's remember that this is a main staple of any Yes concert and always sounds fresh and original.

"South Side of the Sky" is a much undervalued piece - I've never heard this live unfortunately, but I think it should have a top-five place in any Yes song list. The Steve Howe guitar licks are extraordinary and the more reflective quiet passages are simply beautiful.

"Long Distance Roundabout" is a bit "Beatle-ish" which to me IS a criticism! - but is still sweet and lively and short, and leads into...

"Heart of the Sunrise" - the apex of everything Yes had stood for up until that moment. I defy anyone not to have goosebumps when Anderson sings "SHARP - DISTANCE" in those high rich tones...

So, an almost perfect album, marginally let down only by the still interesting solo efforts.

bruin69 | 4/5 |


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