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Yes - Tormato CD (album) cover

TORMATO

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.94 | 1087 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars One thing I will never understand is the hate for this album and all the love for GFTO. Both are weak compared to Relayer but also about equal in terms of quality. I actually prefer Tormato to GFTO. Slightly. Possibly the worst title of any Yes album and certainly one of the worst album covers. Wakeman throws a tomato at a picture and you call the album Tormato and release it that way? Whatever. The criticism about the production and Wakeman's choice of keyboard sounds seem fair. The playing and compositions, however, are far better than most would have you believe. Some don't like the lyrics on this album. Maybe they don't like songs about whales, UFOs and children's stories but prefer to hear Jon Anderson sing about moving movements on lawns instead.

Speaking of Jonny boy, this will be his last Yes album for awhile (he will co-found a new group called Cinema who will be forced to change their name to "Yes"). Wakeman will also leave. Again. The next album has the New Wave duo The Buggles as members. It seems the members of Yes were keeping up with a lot of the current music at the time. I think another reason some don't like this album is the presence of some funk, reggae and R&B influences in the music. Tormato also sounds a lot more 'happy' than previous Yes albums did. Interesting for a band with a lot of in-fighting at the time. I like the tones that Chris Squire uses for his bass here but some do not. It sounds like he is using some kind of auto-wah (Mu-Tron III?) on his instrument of choice.

"Future Times/Rejoice" is not a bad opener. The keyboard sounds here really suck and tarnish what is otherwise a well-written song. This track features some of Alan White's best drumming on the album. I don't know if there was a whale-killing epidemic in the late 1970s or not but Jon felt a need to write a song about it. Dig it. I've always loved this song, a reggae-influenced mid-paced rocker. Features a great synth solo from Wakeman that leads into a cool slightly spacey mantra/chant section. Great symphonic ending as well. "Magrigal" is pure filler, sounds like the bastard child of "Wond'rous Stories" (another song I hate). Mostly a harpsichord based vehicle for Jon's vocals. "Release, Release" almost sounds like the bands attempt at punk. Overall a mediocre song. Some hate the mock 'live' part in the middle with the pointless drum solo and boogie-woogie guitar playing but I think it's the best part of the song.

"Arriving UFO" is one of the most criticized songs on the album, yet is one of the most interesting and one of the stronger tracks compositionally. It has a nice flow to it. I really like the rockin' instrumental parts. "Circus Of Heaven" is another song that usually gets universally bashed. Most of the hate comes from the fact that Jon's son talks in the song. As if that's reason alone to dismiss an entire song. Lyrically it is based upon a story Jon wrote for his son (you hear the child's actual response to the story). I like when bands throw in little things like that into their songs. Musically it starts off very tropical island sounding; it's hard to listen to this and not think of sunny beaches. Later on becomes more, uh, nighttime-y and childlike-y. I prefer the studio version of "Onward" to the much later Keys To Ascension live version. I really like Steve Howe's guitar playing on this song which reminds me of something else. Never really cared for it but it is a pretty little song anyway.

Album closer "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" is the standout track. Howe and Squire sound great in this song. Love the instrumental buildup before Jon starts singing. Just about everything in this song is perfect and it's probably the closest Yes came to sounding like pre-1975 Yes since, well, 1975. There is no epic here but overall Tormato is perhaps a more 'proggy' album than GFTO. All in all, Yes would never reach the heights of the early 1970s again but the three albums they made after Relayer still have their fair share of good prog. I'll give this 3 stars.

zravkapt | 3/5 |

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