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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover

FRAGILE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 2363 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

JCDenton
4 stars I feel it's only appropriate to point out every time "yes" is uttered in this review, keeping "Tell the moondog, tell the march-YES" in mind. Really, I find that track so silly-sounding. Anyway!

I remember "Roundabout" being my first real introduction to Yes (Yes!) (before being a Proghead, I had only heard "Owner of a Lonely Heart"). The only people I could imagine not in love with the bass line are those who've heard the song far too many times. Yes (Yes!) is remembered for the performances of this album, being so iconicized into Progressive immortality. The bass is absolutely rocking on "Roundabout", "Long Distance Runaround" and especially "Heart of the Sunrise". The other instruments have major highlights, too, such as Rick Wakeman's keys on especially "South Side of the Sky". Bill Bruford created one of drumming's absolute greatest and unique performances in "Heart of the Sunrise". Most of the album is a highlight for practically every member. It's so well-performed and highly memorable in that aspect.

The songwriting is very Yes (Yes!) with Jon Anderson's thick vocabulary adding a curious texture gives the album an interesting blend. Some of the tracks feel a bit hokey at times. "Tell the Moondog; tell the Marc-YES!" I can understand the band's roots and the pieces representing various parts of the band. But "Cans and Brahms", "We Have Heaven", and various bits of "Roundabout" feel corny. They're good pieces nonetheless. "Five Per Cent for Nothing" is a decent start to songwriting for Bruford, but the piece just can't stand alone to me. I feel it could've developed into something. I wish the idea was either expanded upon or recalled/incorporated at another point in a later Yes (Yes!) song. "Long Distance Runaround" is a decent jam with, again, being a highlight bass track for Squire. "The Fish" features Squire in solo mode with some really good bass work. Another highlight for him I forgot to mention. "Mood for a Day" is a really good, relaxing Steve Howe solo tune.

But the shining moments on the album are mostly contained within "Heart of the Sunrise". It's the most intricately structured by far, with the first real experimentation of weaving in and out of previously introduced ideas. The song is exciting right from the start with the unison guitar-bass parts and the intense drumming and key tapping. The following section thirty seconds in is possibly the best moment on the whole track and album. The bass line is just so tasty and the highly experimental drums are solid and just add so much extra flavor. Then the mellotron. Then the guitar texture playing the line from the intro. The band sounds so good together on this track. It only gets better and more emotional when things are brought down to Earth with Jon chiming in on the first verses to the song. Then the chorus is a dynamic peak which rings through all the heart of the song. The rest is weaving through the ideas already stated with a dramatic ending slowed down for impact and all goosebump-raising purposes. The track really is fantastic?and then "Tell the Moondog tell the March-YES" comes back. Why, oh why! I'm joking. But the song is great. Definite head-and-shoulders above most of the tracks on the album, while I'd say "South Side of the Sky" is still a head above the rest. The rest are worth listening, but the album as a whole is not entirely consistent for me. Still, important and great album, and I think its praise received is not all undeserved.

JCDenton | 4/5 |

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