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Yes - Union CD (album) cover

UNION

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.48 | 757 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

eddietrooper
3 stars This is one of the most controversial albums in the history of Yes. The title itself is a lie: there was no real Union as it is actually a mix of songs from Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe (the major part of the album) and from the Yes-West members Rabin, Squire, White and Kaye (only four songs). The fact that Anderson sings also on the Yes-West tracks gives the album some more cohesion, and Squire also sings tasty backing vocals on a pair of ABWH tracks, but the feeling anyway is that you're listening to two different bands. The ABWH tracks are over-produced, with plenty of layers of instruments, maybe too much. The producer Jonathan Elias used many keyboard players and programmers and some of the guitars are not played by Howe, mainly the heavier ones (i.e. the intro to Shock To The System). The session guitar player involved was Jimmy Haun, whose sound is closer to Rabin's. So neither Wakeman nor Howe were happy with the result, as they didn't recognice themselves on many moments of the album. That's the reason why this album sounds different to any other Yes album. But if you are able to forget that this is not "real Yes", some of this music works surprisingly good. I Would Have Waited Forever and Shock To The System are two brilliant powerfull hard rock tracks with proggy elements. On the other side, Dangerous and Holding On have similar features but they don't work as good, perhaps because the songwriting is weaker. Masquerade is one of the best acoustic Howe compositions ever, truly beatuful. Silent Talking and Without Hope You Cannot Start The Day have wierd structures and seem to be directionless but I quite enjoy them , they simply are different, and Anderson's vocals on these tracks are outstanding. Angkor Wat is really pointless but it doesn't bother me at all. Take The Water To The Mountain is a simple Anderson song, beautifully sung, but nothing special. Give & Take, the European bonus track, features an interesting riff by Howe, and it's not bad but not one of the highlights either. And now let's talk about the Rabin-driven tracks: my favourite is not really a Rabin track, but a Squire/Sherwood one, The More We Live-Let Go, very atmospheric. The other songs are plain AOR tracks, well produced but a little boring. Two of them (Lift Me Up and Miracle Of Life) feature stunning proggy intros but after that they disappoint you as they develope into quite simple AOR songs. Saving My Heart is an AOR ballad with some reggae bits, it is really out of place in a Yes album.

So this is a wierd release, with two different bands playing, one of them disguised with an over-produced sound and session players, resulting in a very irregular album that anyway has its charm and its truly enjoyable moments. If you have an open mind, don't avoid this album, just listen to it, find your favorite moments and ignore the others. You'll find a good amount of good stuff. 3 stars.

eddietrooper | 3/5 |

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