Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Yes - Union CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.51 | 1084 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
2 stars The title of this album is in some ways appropriate, and in other ways not at all. 'Union' was an attempt by the fragmented members of Yes in 1991 to bring their respective projects together and create one album that would capture the spirit of members past and present, and cover the breadth of the Yes vision. In this, 'Union' fails momentously. The ABWH tracks in particular feature several additional musicians who make a significant contribution to the sounds on display, which (while far from inept) do further change the flavour of a band who had already fallen quite a distance from their '70s greatness. It definitely is a union of strong musicianship, but it is not really a Yes album; it includes the vision and ideas of various members of Yes, but also the vision of thirty other Americans.

What 'Union' does offer is some solid, highly polished, and fun rock music. The wealth of musicians playing on the album gives each track a very busy, multilayered feel, every minute containing an abundance of energy in the form of guitar fills, underlying keyboard chords, and vocal harmonies. On pieces like 'Shock To The System', this results in an otherwise straightforward hard rock song being transformed into a relentless mini-epic, where choruses pile upon choruses, the guitars never let up, and Jon effortlessly breaks into a quite beautiful quiet bridge section with Steve Howe on acoustics. At other times, as on 'Dangerous', it doesn't really work and the ideas clash, leaving us with a piece that jumps around incoherently and never really finds any conclusion.

Lyrically, the band remain interesting, and the tracks are full of the classic Yes spiritual optimism and empowerment, but also unwelcome doses of plain love songs here and there. Trevor Rabin's effect on the material further veers the band into bland hair-rock territory, with his charmless Top 40 voice and 1D guitar riffing, and tracks like 'Life Me Up' and 'Saving My Heart' would surely only be fit for the Baywatch soundtrack, were they not saved by a few interesting changes in instrumentation and Jon's vocal parts.

The best pieces on the album would be Steve Howe's accomplished 12-string guitar solo 'Masquerade', 'Silent Talking', and 'The More We Live - Let Go'. 'Angkor Wat' is also a standout piece - even if we can't be sure that's Wakeman on the synths, this one is full of atmosphere and evokes some of that mystical air Yes could once produce so easily.

An enjoyable and energetic rock album, but little more... and a grand opportunity wasted.

ThulŽatan | 2/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this YES review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.