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Yes - Fly From Here CD (album) cover

FLY FROM HERE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 804 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
3 stars I have officially given up on Yes ever doing what they do best, having been such a fan once long ago when I was a relayer close to the edge and fragile. Their reluctance to properly address their core audience is frustrating and ultimately somewhat arrogant in a roundabout way. But it's their absolute right to fish for pop glory and if that's their mission, so be it! I thought having Asia was enough to satisfy the accessible urge but I guess I am wrong. What made this legendary band so special was the mastery of their respective instruments, Steve Howe's majestic technique and feel, Wakeman's boundless expertise and confidence, Squire's instantaneously recognizable über-trebled bass and both Bruford and White's seismic thumping. Sadly, these elements are, for the most part, completely invisible on Fly From Here, with only occasional flirts of magnification. Let's be clear here, I do not hope for a rehash of their glory days but simply, a better expression of their technical talents would be most appreciated, for Squire's sakes! Open your eyes!

All these years I have felt that Alan White was just a notch below the great Bill Bruford, competing like a dedicated athlete, hanging in there with some decent playing. But this is a fine example of his milquetoast offering, as if Alan was utterly bored by the challenge of drumming for a celebrated prog outfit. He is not the only culprit. Frankly, on this recording Squire rumbles only slightly, Downes never was and never will be a Moraz or a Wakeman , so there is really only uncle Steve Howe who does any kind of justice to his endowment. The main refreshment comes from new guy Benoit David who sings miraculously but he will never be able to shake off Jon's spectral voice because nobody can (Hi Trevor! How are you doing?).

That being stated, the opening multi-part suite is largely successful and most welcome but the remaining tracks lack some raw power and fuzzy bliss. Missing are those indescribable elements that make one drool and gag in total awe. What we get is a recording that obviously rests on past laurels and refuses to go one ladder step beyond, playing it safe. Safe and sorry IMHO. The overture has all those Drama-like quirks, playfully attractive and sets the table for the more expressive Part 1, inviting vocal wunderkind Benoit David of French Canadian band Mystery (a clearly superior outfit to the recent Yes) to unleash his vocal contribution to the Yes canon. You can actually hear Squire's famous bass grumbling (but why bury it so deep in the mix later? Trevor WTF?) , Howe shines as only he can , a true master of his guitar craft. Downes does his best to coat some symphonic paint and White plods along rather poorly. Part 2 is the highlight track here , as it has Steve leading the show with some superlative acoustic expression and Benoit's shivering vocal providing some sense of suspense, a gently pastoral melody forging some fond memories of the glory days. Howe unleashes a glowing and spectral electric solo (certainly one of his best ever!) and the overall passion glowingly increases, Squire booming and White pushing it along. If it could only remain along this track until the end! Part 3 refits the initial quirkiness and infuses Benoit's voice into the mix and the music remains interesting and vibrant but it sounds more like the Buggles than Yes, to be frank! Geoff's organ solo is rather lame and lacks balls.

I will not even dare to review the remaining tracks as they are simply fluff of the worst kind, unimaginative, defenceless and ultimately insulting to Yes fans . Nothing new and weak rehashes.

Compare this to Mystery's One Among the Living and Yes' music comes across as a rotting dead corpse, little spark and cotton candy floss. Trevor Horn was once an accomplished musician and innovative producer; he has completely failed the band here.

Guys, its not hard, make a PROG album! Isn't there enough inspiration out there? Ever heard of the Flower Kings? They are from Sweden.

Oh, I give up. No more Yes for me.

Nice cover, as per usual.

3 departing mosquitoes

tszirmay | 3/5 |

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