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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.45 | 3479 ratings

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5 stars My previous experience with the music of Yes was as such: I had seen the videos for "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Leave It" and I once owned "The Yes Album" on cassette, which I purchased after seeing an old video of "I've Seen All Good People" on TV. I am sure I had heard "Roundabout" on the radio but hadn't cared much for it at the time. But after a very intense period of loving Rush, I decided to check out one of the bands that were always cited as a main influence on Rush's progressive rock endeavours, and it was "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" which I downloaded from iTunes that told me there was something grand happening here.

While not a totally perfect album, "Fragile" is for me one of the mainstays of seventies' progressive rock. It took the music of Yes a step further than "The Yes Album" which was already a great album in my opinion, though it had not yet reached the climax that it did with "Close to the Edge". The band assumed its classic line up with the addition of Rick Wakeman and there was room for anything to happen.

In a way, "Fragile" can be divided into two parts: the group songs and the individual contributions of each member (Anderson's "We Have Heaven", Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms", Brufford's "Five Per Cent for Nothing"-a title reflecting his disdain over their manager's contract, Howe's "Mood for a Day", and Squire's incredible multi-bass track piece "The Fish"). The individual pieces are all rather short but exhibit the range of ideas and talent that the band members bring with them to Yes and progressive music in general. The longer songs, however, are where the real music is.

Except for the short but very good "Long Distance Runaround", the three tracks "Roundabout", "South Side of the Sky" and "Heart of the Sunrise" show Yes at their best. Each song includes extended instrumental sections, juxtapositions of classical piano with hard rock, virtuostic soloing, frequent tempo and time signature changes, pronounced bass guitar (that rollicking bass riff in "Roundabout" should have sat the bass playing world on its ass!), and precise drumming, not to mention some great organ playing and powerful, emotive vocals (love Anderson's performance in "Heart of the Sunrise"!). Put these three songs together with the three tracks on "Close to the Edge" and you'd have one helluva fine volume of symphonic prog.

I can't say much else without repeating what others have already written. This is a classic! And as my user name suggests, this remains one of my most beloved prog rock albums.

FragileKings | 5/5 |


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