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FLY FROM HERE

Yes

Symphonic Prog


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Yes Fly From Here album cover
3.45 | 718 ratings | 80 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fly From Here - Overture (1:53)
2. Fly From Here - Pt I - We Can Fly (6:00)
3. Fly From Here - Pt II - Sad Night At The Airfield (6:41)
4. Fly From Here - Pt III - Madman At The Screens (5:16)
5. Fly From Here - Pt IV - Bumpy Ride (2:15)
6. Fly From Here - Pt V - We Can Fly (reprise) (1:44)
7. The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be (5:07)
8. Life On A Film Set (5:01)
9. Hour Of Need (3:07)
10. Solitaire (3:30)
11. Into The Storm (6:54)

Japan-only bonus track:
12. Hour Of Need (6:45)

Total Time 57:13

Lyrics

Search YES Fly From Here lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search YES Fly From Here tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Chris Squire / bass guitar, vocals
- Steve Howe / guitars, vocals
- Alan White / drums
- Geoff Downes / keyboards
- Benoit David / lead vocals
- Trevor Horn / vocals



Releases information

Released: 22 June (Japan, Avalon)
4 July (Europe, Frontiers Records)
12 July (United States, Frontiers Records)

Thanks to rulfo1234 for the addition
and to Rune2000 for the last updates
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YES Fly From Here ratings distribution


3.45
(718 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
13%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

YES Fly From Here reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Strange, They are back in their most "commercial" line-up, but it doesn't seem so bad after all!!

Now We are coming back along with them into the Era of Yes "Drama": the choice of the producer and songwriter as well- Mr Trevor Horn- is a clear idea that is already moving us into a new coloured and melodic world of a linear symphonic pop genre, but it's not a bad choice!!

First of all They keep on playing according to their "suite-format" of the old symphonies ("Fly from here" divided into 6 sections), whose 1st section, "Overture" is an easy but intelligent introduction, including the Benoit David's opening words, with his delicate and clear voice, a lower version in comparison to the vocalism by T. Horn, but a pleasant tone to be heard after all...well, actually I could care less about Jon Anderson missing here, cause He's the best and unique true singer by Yes in their best line-up; nevertheless the output is anyway good!!

In spite of its easy "gait", the whole suite - by taking over the plot of the composition, is slowly growing more and more, even though by means of no particular brilliant performances from the compositional point of view (T. Horn and G. Downes are the "masters" in semplifying the harmony, by increasing the sense of melody)...but the instrumental parts are well played by all the members and you can find some intelligent guitar riffs here, where Mr Howe never does too much to show his skill and He's working here for the balance of the whole composition.

Well it's the first listen to this new album and I might have a more precise and full opinion about it after a repeated listening to it...now it's a bit early to express a definitive opinion, even though it seems to me that the album lacks of something, not the imagination certainly, but something else, if compared to best early Yes albums...nevermind, for the moment it's a "three stars score" as a prog related album, that could be increased time after time...it's a modern product and the new band members don't expect to be the composers of a true prog masterpiece, in spite of a few declarations by Chris Squire, who tells us that the album represents the best of Yes in the seventies and eighties, with a modern turning-point of their music career...well I'm waiting for your opinions in the period between June, 22 and July 2011!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#464553) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2011

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Anticipating the new Yes record is clearly not something I would have imagined doing just a few years back. Even when the new lineup was in place and the announcement regarding a release date for Fly From Here came out, I was only slightly curious of what Benoît David, Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn could bring to the band.

This was of course until I heard the single We Can Fly, which managed to legitimately revitalize my excitement for the upcoming full length release. The main reason for such a perpetual change came from the fact that the single sounded very much like a comeback to the classic Drama sound that I honestly never would have imagined hearing again on a Yes recording! So how did the record hold up to my expectations?

My initial spin felt very disappointing and I was almost ready to dismiss the entire release all together for its lack of any creative ideas and innovation. Come to think of it, there was very little Symphonic Prog energy here in general. Luckily, I wasn't planning on giving up my adventures in modern recording and carried on listening to it a few more times. These revisits proved to be very rewarding since I now, not only, had good knowledge of the individual compositions but also a much better gasp of the entire recording.

The lengthy Fly From Here suite is clearly the make it or break it moment for these types of side long suite albums (i.e. Tarkus, 2112, Foxtrot) and it wasn't any different this time around. The suite is divided into six parts with first and last serving as an overture and conclusion, respectively. It quickly dawned on me why this multi-part composition needed the overture since there was clearly not much else here that supported the illusion of a suite! Let's be honest here, Fly From Here is really not a multi-part suite as much as a few Downes/Horn songs mixed together into a medley. The transitions feel very rough and, come to think of it, there's really no reason of turning these fine tunes into a medley of any kind.

Suite-related gripe aside, We Can Fly, Sad Night At The Airfield and Madman At The Screens are very nice songs filled with memorable performances from all the players. A few of the melodic progressions feel a bit too safe for my personal tastes, especially the chorus section of Sad Night At The Airfield, but other than that they all have a legitimate reason of being here. Having said that, I feel that Bumpy Ride-section is plain weird, which in retrospect actually makes it completely hilarious! I see it as a Steve Howe trying to re-work the classic Genesis piece Riding The Scree, but you shouldn't really mess with professionals like Tony Banks! Just like the The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway piece, this instrumental pretty much comes out of nowhere and breaks the otherwise very stale progression. The hilarious part is the fact that they decided to add vocals to the end of this track in order for it to make more sense and make it coherent with the rest of the suite.

As for the rest of the album, there's actually not much to talk about here. We do get some lovely lead vocals by Chris Squire on The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be. Other than that, this piece is a complete bore. Life On A Film Set passes by pretty unnoticeably, except maybe for the weird "riding a tiger" lyric. This song will from now on be know as Riding A Tiger! Hour Of Need is another semi-obligatory awareness/message type tunes that would have made more sense on some cause-related album like Save Darfur or Japan Earthquake/Nuclear fund raising compilations. Solitaire is where the band clearly comes out and says - Sorry, but we've run out of material in order to make this a 50+ minute album so we decided to let Steve Howe run amuck with his acoustic guitars. The only saving grace comes right towards the end with the semi-memorable track Into The Storm. This composition is clearly here in order to remind us of the great Tempus Fugit off Drama, except not half as good.

I just realized that I actually enjoy to complain about this album, but to be completely honest here, Fly From Here is really not a bad album! It's not even close to the excellent material of the band's past, still I wouldn't exactly call it a collectors/fans only release either. There is a certain charm to these tunes that will rub off once you've given them a few spins, just don't expect it to be Drama 2.

**** star songs: Fly From Here - Overture (1:54) Pt I - We Can Fly (6:01) Pt II - Sad Night At The Airfield (6:41) Pt III - Madman At The Screens (5:16) Pt IV - Bumpy Ride (2:15) Pt V - We Can Fly (reprise) (1:45) Into The Storm (6:54)

*** star songs: The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be (5:08) Life On A Film Set (5:01) Hour Of Need (3:07) Solitaire (3:30)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#471393) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review by ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars From the moment that I heard that Yes was working on a new studio album, I was stoked. It's amazing, really. Yes has managed to release at least on studio album for six decades now! If it weren't for that darn Fripp (King Crimson) we'd have a prog world record here.

Ok, we've established that I want to love this. Keep that in mind through the rest of the review.

Do you Yes fans remember1979-1980? Do you remember all of the anxiety that we felt with the news that The Buggles had joined Yes? And do you remember the sigh of relief we breathed when we realized that the Drama tracks didn't have the slick, plastic feel that The Buggles brought to their music. Even the tracks that weren't so good on Drama (half of them) didn't suffer from that. Well, if I was choosing a headline to describe Fly From Here, it would be this.

THE BUGGLES HAVE FINALLY TRIUMPHED!!!!!

Don't cry. There are worse things than being slick and plastic. But that is my predominant impression of this album.

Chris has been lazy since 90125. There have been a couple of exceptions since (I'm Running is obvious and some of his work on the Keys albums was quite energetic) but he has fallen from prog grace and it's quite evident on this album. Steve has actually gotten better in his post- Asia (well post-FIRST Asia) period and he doesn't collapse on this album either, but I sure wouldn't call this the best work he's done in the last five years either. As for Alan White.... well it took his work on Keys 1 & 2 to finally get me to admit that he was Bruford's peer, despite excellent work earlier in his career with Yes. This album does not reinforce my opinion.

So, on to the substitute teachers.

Benoit gets a thumbs up. Sure, I'd rather have Jon singing lead, but Benoit is quite competent. When I think of all the subs that have been suggested for Jon in the past, I'm quite grateful that Chris & Co. went with Benoit.

Downes is my least favorite Yes keyboardist (unless you count live performances, where Oliver Wakeman barely edges him out.) That said, the Downes that we have on Fly From Here is actually an improvement upon the Downes we have from Drama in most ways. My truly major complaint with him can probably be laid at Horn's door as much as him. I truly can't stand that sharp piano sound he's using in the Fly From Here suite. You can hear it from the very opening bars of the Overture. It's sounds like Schroeder from the Peanuts pounding on his toy piano.

Horn gets a mention here. His producing is evident throughout the album. That's a major reason why I called this album slick and plastic. That's not all bad, btw. Horn has probably done a lot to give us a listenable album. But the word overproduced comes to my mind when I consider the distortions to vocals and percussion. I'm waffling on Horn's contribution here. He PROBABLY was a plus, but I'm not certain.

As for the material.....

The Fly From Here suite was developed from a forgettable song that Yes played live on the Drama tour. Kudos to all invovled for developing it into something much greater than it's beginning.

The Man You Always Wanted To Be and Life On A Film Set are totally forgettable.

Hour of Need would be totally forgettable if it weren't as good as it is. It's a weird track though. Somehow it reminds me of Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Solitaire is a Howe solo. Definitely not a homerun like we had in Masquerade off Union or his earlier Yes solos, but at least a single, and maybe a double.

Into The Storm is not great but it is kind of interesting and it avoids the slick sound that plagues most of the rest of the album.

I've been avoiding this. It's time for a rating.

Ok, I can definitely tell you this. This album is better than Open Your Eyes. It is better than Tormato. It is more consistent than Union. I'm waffling on whether it is better than Big Generator or not at the moment but it probably is. Given that evaluation, I'll say three stars. Good but not essential. But just barely.

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Send comments to ghost_of_morphy (BETA) | Report this review (#472913) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars We Can Fly - but we can't soar

I've tried to like this album, I really did. I'm not a purist that says Yes without Jon Anderson is not Yes. I love "Drama". But this is a very flawed album. The most striking thing is how lifeless Benoit David's vocals sound throughout. And Geoff Downes is guilty of Conduct Unbecoming a Yes Keyboardist - he does little to bring the keyboards out in front. In fact, Steve Howe is the only band member who sounds like he was enthusiastic about playing on this album.

The album isn't totally bad. It's just... disappointing.

The Fly From Here suite starts out promising. It has that big Yes sound. If only they could sustain this. But then it changes into We Can Fly. David's bland vocals turn into a very mundane chorus. If it wasn't for some nice playing by Howe, we wouldn'y know it was Yes. The best thing I can say about the Sad Night At The Airfield section is that I like it batter than anything on "Talk". Very sad indeed. Madman At The Screens is not too bad. It is a bit reminiscent of I Am A Camera on "Drama". Bumpy Ride is not bumpy at all - but it sounds like Rabin-era Yes. And the finale is just an overblown reprise of We Can Fly.

The Man You Want Me To Be is the low point of the album. This piece of flaccid rock will probably end up as a single getting overplayed on one of those radio station that make office workers insane. You know the ones that I mean. Life On A Film Set begins with a guitar intro that sounds like ELP's C'est La Vie, but builds into something that might have fit on ABWH. A decent song.

Hour Of Need, as others have stated, sounds like Crosby Stills & Nash. This song, too, is saved by Steve Howe's guitar. And speaking of Howe, his solo piece, Solitaire is good, but it doesn't compare to the acoustic solos he's recorded on earlier albums.

Into The Storm is the most Yeslike song on the album. I'll b et it will rock in concert. But here, the vocals are almost buried, and Downes sounds like he doesn't want his keyboards to be noticed.

This album could have been much better. Most of the songwriting is fair. I suspect the producer may be to blame.

2.5 stars.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#473661) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Fly From Here' - Yes (6/10)

2011 has met a string of new albums from the classic bands of progressive rock. Be it the latest Van Der Graaf Generator LP or the recent King Crimson ProjeKct (sic), the first half of the year has brought a nice blast from the past, from artists who laid down the foundation for what we now know as prog. Arguably the most eagerly anticipated of these comeback albums though has been the latest album by prog giants Yes; a band that dominated the scene in the early to mid '70s with a string of classic masterpieces. Although no one was quite optimistic enough to expect another 'Close To The Edge' or 'Fragile' to be sure, there was wonder as to how 'Fly From Here' would turn out. I had my doubts surrounding the record, but at the same time, I could not help but be a little excited that one of my favourite bands of all time were dishing out a new record. As it turns out, I find myself both impressed and disappointed with the record simultaneously. Although this is certainly a Yes record we are talking about here, it has nowhere near the sort of staying power that the band's earlier albums had. This of course, was entirely expected.

Hearing the single and title track got me excited about the album, regardless of the fact that it was paired with a rather laughable music video. From that track, it was clear that the band was aiming for a classic prog sound, but fueled with very catchy melodies. A big point of apprehension that I first had when 'Fly From Here' was announced was that the original band vocalist Jon Anderson was not part of the project, and that Yes was instead fronted by a Benoit David. Listening to the single rested my doubts however; although David could not completely fill the shoes of Jon Anderson, he could wear them, at the very least. He has a very similar voice to Anderson's, and although there is not the same depth to the tone of his voice, his higher register performance keeps the band sounding like Yes, although it is clear that he is trying a little too hard to sound like the band's original vocalist. David's performance will likely keep Yes fans chattering for a while after listening to it, and granted that he is not as incredible as Jon Anderson, but I've been impressed in spite of it.

As for the songwriting here, I am a little less impressed. Yes has structured 'Fly From Here' to a fairly familiar prog formula. The first side is devoted to an 'epic' suite, whereas the second half is left to more conventional songs. Of course, alot of the album's success rests on the quality of the epic, and the result is somewhat mixed. The first three tracks on 'Fly From Here' are absolutely fantastic. The single 'Fly From Here' is incredibly melodic and truly sounds like Yes music. 'Sad Night At The Airfield' keeps up with catchy melodies, but there is a less accessible structure to it that takes the band into a more melancholic territory, and possibly even more beautiful. 'Madman At The Screens' doesn't have quite as powerful a melodic grasp, but it gets some more typically progressive grooves going on that remind me of the band's classic work.

After that, the album starts taking a steep decline. 'Bumpy Ride' is obviously meant to be a little instrumental climax to the epic, but it works out to be rather irritating, using a quirky riff that doesn't go anywhere before the single's chorus is reprised and the epic finishes off. 'Fly From Here' has some great songs that take part of its suite, but that's still all they feel like; songs. There is obviously an effort taken to have them flow together, but it really does not work, especially towards the end, where it feels like 'Bumpy Ride' was thrown in there just to break up the poppier aspects of the music. With that one exception though, the music on the 'Fly From Here' suite is fantastic. It really impresses me that the band can still be making music that sounds fresh, when they have been around for decades, and while Yes is not doing anything new with their sound here, 'Fly From Here' does not disappoint for the first half.

The second half of the record is a lot less impressive, and despite an excellent first half, Yes really shows that their golden days are over with the second side of 'Fly From Here'. These songs are not irritating or cringe-worthy by any standard of mine (the album's low point has come and gone with 'Bumpy Ride') but I must say that the songs do not sink in, as much good pop should. The instrumentation is somewhat bland, although it is pleasant enough, and the vocal melodies have a few catchy hooks to them, but nothing quite powerful enough to get me humming along to it. Moreover, there is not the same emotional quality that the second and third tracks had to them here. 'Solitaire' shows Steve Howe trying to keep his string of classically influenced acoustic compositions going, but it is fairly mundane. Sadly, it feels as if Trevor Horn (the producer) has really taken control of Yes, and while this works well for when the music is at its most catchy, the same passion I first heard from Steve Howe and Chris Squire on 'Fragile' or 'The Yes Album' is not here in near as much of a quantity as I would have hoped.

It is a shame that 'Fly From Here' is a fairly inconsistent album, because from the handful of tracks here that stand out, they really impress me and pass me as being excellent. 'Fly From Here' is a good album though, and while a little mundane and tame in sections, there is now another chapter in the saga of Yes that fans can dig into. With the absence of Jon Anderson and the creative control of the original members though, one can argue as to whether this is truly an album from the band that once dominated the prog rock sound.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#478875) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 08, 2011

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A new album from Yes is always something to be celebrated among the prog community. These British legends have released countless undisputed classics in their 43-year history, spawning much critical acclaim and fantastic international sales. Yes simply cannot be ignored, and Fly From Here proves that they are still a force to be reckoned with in 2011. Though it may not rival masterpieces like The Yes Album or Close to the Edge, Fly From Here shows that Yes still knows how to create excellent progressive rock over forty years into their career. Although this may be a tad too commercial for some fans, I'd have a tough time calling Fly From Here anything but a high-quality effort. Newcomers to Yes will want to start with the band's classic albums from the 1970's, but any Yes veteran will want to make sure this ends up in their collection. Fly From Here has really impressed me, and it's very inspiring to see that these 70's juggernauts still can create one of the year's best prog albums!

Anyone familiar with Yes will immediately recognize that the lineup for Fly From Here is nearly identical to that of 1980's Drama. I am quite a fan of that album so it's great to hear that lineup (plus new singer Benoit David) making another album. Fly From Here doesn't quite stand up to Drama in my opinion, but it's still a very strong release. The "Fly From Here" epic that dominates nearly 24 minutes of the album is fantastic, and undoubtedly the highlight of the album. The themes are interwoven perfectly throughout the song's duration, and every individual section is unforgettable. "Sad Night at the Airfield" is probably the best section of this extended track, with its melancholic feeling rivaling some of Yes' best material. The second half of the album is a bit more pop-oriented than the rather non-commercial first half. After kicking off with the rather disposable pop/rock track "The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be", the album only gets stronger with "Life on a Film Set" - a truly remarkable prog rock song that manages to cover a wide variety of emotions in a mere five minutes. "Hour of Need" is a mildly enjoyable pop/rock tune featuring some great keyboard playing from Geoff Downes, and "Solitaire" is a great acoustic guitar instrumental from Steve Howe. "Into the Storm" closes out the album with a very strong prog tune, surely among the best on Fly From Here.

As always from Yes, expect quality when it comes to musicianship. These guys certainly know how to play, and although Fly From Here isn't as technically demanding as some of their earlier works, every note played here is professional and tasteful. My only complaint when it comes to musicianship is the fairly uninspired drumming from Alan White - obviously he is a very good drummer, but he doesn't show this nearly enough on Fly From Here. This may be partially due to the fact that he's 62 years old, but I still feel that it's a bit too "play-by-numbers" to sound truly impressive. Despite that minor complaint, the production is (as expected) great. Trevor Horn is a spectacular producer, and Fly From Here sounds crisp and professional.

Fly From Here may not be the greatest thing Yes has ever done in their long and winding career, but it's a high-quality release that satisfies from beginning to end. People who were skeptical about this Yes comeback album may rest assured - I have a tough time picturing any Yes fan who doesn't at least enjoy this album. I personally love Fly From Here, though, and find it constantly in my rotation. Though a tad inconsistent at times, Fly From Here has more than enough quality material to leave me more than satisfied. 4 stars are well-deserved for yet another stellar Yes album!

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Posted Saturday, July 09, 2011

Review by thehallway
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A cross between Close to the Edge and 90125?

Nah, it's just Drama part two.

This is a good thing, though. Drama was pleasant enough, with some good songs and some unmemorable ones, and this is much the same. The trio that started this project sound as good as ever, and instantly recognisable on their instruments. Downes' keyboards are well- executed but cheesey, tone-wise. This from playing in Asia for so long I expect. Meanwhile, the band's new singer is.... fine, I guess, and Horn's production is as flawless as you'd expect from the mixing-desk veteran.

The side-long epic title-track is divided into sections, with 'Madman at the Screens' being the same as the 'Overture' but with lyrics. These two and the titular section are very good. Like Drama, they have an 80s prog/AOR feel and some catchy yet interesting moments. The 'Sad Night at the Airfield' part is more moody, but I find it unmemorable and it kind of spoils the pace of the rest of the piece. 'Bumpy Ride' and a brief reprise of that catchy chorus provide closure to the piece, and overall I am left impressed. It's very typical of Yes, which is nice in a way, but also very safe, and devoid of any real risk-taking.

The other songs are just okay. Squire's pop thing is neat but adds nothing to the album, same with Howe's. The Buggle-penned 'Life on a Film Set' is in two-parts, but I get the feeling it's trying too hard to be progressive. It's quite interesting to listen to but the lyrics leave me very confused! Howe's acoustic solo piece is great though, and works really well before the final rocker, 'Into the Storm'. It is this last song that really earns Fly From Here one of its stars from me. With watery bass riffs, epic synth lines and quirky guitar, this piece is undoubtedly Yes and undoubtedly good. It has the most energy of all the album and certainly needn't be any shorter or longer. I am surprised that no one else on Prog Archives has yet noticed what the lyrics seem to be about.

Jon Anderson.

I did promise myself I wouldn't mention him in this review, but this excellent song forces him into my mind. Not only does it suffer the most from his absence, but the lyrics are actually addressing him! (I think). Listen for yourself, and you might recognise the links to the current situation between Yes and Jon. It's quite fiery in that respect, making it really edgy as a closer and taking one heck of a risk (and so undoing the non-risk-taking of the title track).

Overall, I like this album. I prefer it to most of Yes's 90s efforts, as a whole album anyway. There are some colourful things to explore but, unsurprisingly, it's hardly in the same creative realm as Relayer or Close to the Edge. Give Fly From Here some love though, because these old men have obviously tried hard and, in at least one song, they have really struck gold. I can't believe they are so harsh to Anderson though.

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Posted Sunday, July 10, 2011

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well, here we go. A new Yes album, always a big event in the world of prog. Except, of course, this one is of more interest than most, because it contains no Anderson or Wakeman, the former being by far the biggest talking point, given that Wakeman has left the band with more regularity than a serial adulterer.

It is no secret to those reading this that know me well that I adore Anderson's work, and, indeed, he and the band were my introduction to progressive rock music. I did not, and still do not, like Drama, the album they made with The Buggles after Anderson & Wakeman left in a hissy fit in 1980.

So scepticism abounded in Lazland at the thought of this release. I was always going to buy it, simply because I have every studio work they have released, and a fair proportion of their live works as well. But; is it any good? Am I able to put aside my natural hostility to a work without my hero and behave like a professional with dispassionate interest, as a Reviewer on this site should?

Well, I am glad to report that the answer to both of those questions is a resounding yes. This album is not a classic release, by any stretch of the imagination, but what it is is a very good piece of work.

The main focus is, of course, the Fly From Here suite, which takes up what would have been a complete side on the old vinyl. Split into five segments which flow into each other naturally, this is a marvellous piece of music, and a hugely enjoyable musical journey. I have summarised my thoughts on the band members below, but the one thing that absolutely screams at you with this suite is the mature and quite exceptional vocal performance of Benoit David, the bloke Squire picked up from a Yes Tribute band. He excels, and he excels, by the way, because he does not on this work try to be something he is not, namely Jon Anderson. There is only one genius by that name, and he is utterly unique. David on this suite manages that quite difficult trick of making a Yes epic come off without at any stage becoming a mere clone. Good on him!

The story of the suite is well told, and, the slightly annoying in places Bumpy Ride aside, this is undoubtedly a YES track, and a damn good one at that. At times, in fact, much to my surprise, it actually soars and takes your breath away, with the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. Parts of We Can Fly (an excellent single in its own right), Sad Night At The Airfield come to mind, but especially the We Can Fly Reprise, which is quite wondrous when it shouts out from the speakers.

This being 2011, and not 1970-odd, the hope that this high standard might be continued into side two is not, I am afraid, realised. It's not awful, far from it, but neither does it come anywhere near to the brilliance of side one.

The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be is, in totality, a Squire creation, including the rather paunchy great one doing the vocals. Actually, I've always liked Squire's voice, and he harmonises with David to good effect on this commercial, but enjoyable, track. It's very upbeat, thanks, I think, to the fact he recently became a father again at an age when most people are moving to their new retirement home.

Life On A Film Set is a very enjoyable track, which builds up very nicely from a deceptively quiet acoustic introduction. Once again, David shines on this, singing wholly within his range, and Downes contributes keyboards that remind one more of Asia than Yes, but no bad thing if, like me, you like Asia.

Hour Of Need is the shortest standalone track, and, for a moment you actually think that you are listening to I've Seen All Good People, transported back 40 years with Howe's unique work. When the main piece segues in, you come back to earth and listen to what is a pleasant, but utterly non essential, ballad featuring more distinctively pleasant vocals and harmonies. This track is probably the closest the album comes in feel to Talk, which, again, is no bad thing.

Solitaire is, I think, the Steve Howe "I Insist upon This Being On In The Contract" bit. It is, of course, very well played. It's Howe, after all, and, you never know, you might get to hear it instead of the interminable Clap at the live shows, but, really, what is the point? It is completely out of place with all else on the LP, and should, instead, have been kept back for his next solo album.

The album closes with Into The Storm. Elsewhere, it has been raved about, but I don't really get it. Perhaps because it reminds me of much which was on Drama, I don't know, but I feel that this is a very weak track, repetitive, and like a McDonald's - thrown away in the bin and forgotten about after finished. I do like the Fly From Here bit at the end, though.

So, how do the chaps acquit themselves?

I've already raved about David. He is the unexpected star of this album, and it is wonderful what a good studio and producer can do with a voice if the terrible live videos on YouTube are to be judged against.

Squire, as ever, plays a mean and thundering bass, and his vocal harmonies, and lead on one track, are as good as they ever were.

Howe is, well, Howe, He plays superbly without ever really breaking into a sweat. I actually think he could have contributed a lot more to this if he had felt minded, but as it is, you feel he is doing it by the numbers. Being Howe, this is still superb musicianship, but I think he could have done far more.

Downes struggles to be heard at times, but when he is, he is what he has always been - a very good keyboard player who, regrettably, comes nowhere near the virtuosity of Wakeman or Moraz. I like Downes in Asia; I just don't think he is a good Yes keyboardist, and Igor was a far better one when Rick was off sulking.

As for White, if it wasn't for the fact that he is mentioned on the credits, I wouldn't have thought he even appeared on this album. Quite how such a credible and important drummer could be so silenced in the mix is quite beyond me. Was it him or the production? Well, given that Trevor Horn has done his customary bang-up job in the studio with this album, I can only imagine it is the former. Very strange, and a great shame, because the rhythm section of the band has always been one of its absolute strengths.

So, how to rate it? Well, the suite is excellent, and worthy of four stars in itself. Whilst the rest isn't quite so bad as to warrant a poor rating, neither does it come anywhere near the main course.

So, three stars for this. A good album which I would happily recommend.

There: I've done a "good" Yes review without Anderson. Time for a long lie down, methinks!

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Posted Monday, July 11, 2011

Review by baz91
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars 'Plummet From Here' more like

Yes's latest studio release is quickly becoming their most overrated album to date. Yes have now achieved the admirable goal of releasing albums in six consecutive decades, a feat which is certainly not accomplished by many. However, the album in question is nothing to shout about.

In my mind - and I'm sure in the minds of many other prog fans - the name Yes has always been synonymous with cutting-edge prog rock. They were a band who released a string of the most high quality albums a fan could ask for in the early 70s. Almost inevitably, that unique talent seemed to fade over time, until we began to hear albums like 'Union' and 'Open Your Eyes' in the 90s. Unfortunately, 'Fly From Here' continues the trend of disappointment.

You see, since the 'Keys To Ascension' albums of the mid 90s, Yes have been practising a musical genre of what I like to think of as 'prog lite', i.e. music that is generally poppy and 'easy' in sound, but includes the bare minimum of prog hooks and odd time signatures to be considered progressive. Such music is generally unsatisfying, and there is usually at most one song on the record that could be considered good. Albums like 1999's 'The Ladder' made me believe that Jon Anderson was responsible for this kind of music, having mellowed in his old age.

Before joining Yes on vocals after Anderson's bout of respiratory failure, Benoît David was the lead singer of the Yes tribute group, 'Close to the Edge'. As much as I lamented the loss of Anderson, I couldn't help but be intrigued to see if this new shot of 'youth' (he is 45 after all) would make the rest of the group realise that their 'prog lite' output of the last decade was not the Yes that people wanted to hear. For this reason, I eagerly anticipated this release, to see if David would give Yes some balls again. This couldn't have been further from the truth.

You see, this is prog lite with a passion to sound bland and uninspiring. The Yes logo over the beautiful Roger Dean cover is all an elaborate mask to hide the mediocrity that awaits the unsuspecting listener. What's more, this new line-up have the cheek to entice us with the prospect of a 20+ minute track in the hope that it may be the real prog we've been yearning for all these years.

On the album cover, the two black cats can only mean one thing: the return of Buggles Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes to the fold. If anything, this gives us even more false hope as we mainly remember 'Drama' as the triumph that succeeded 'Tormato'. There is certainly no Machine Messiah on this disc though. Horn and Downes are responsible for most of the writing on this album, making the authenticity of this disc questionable as a Yes album. It is sufficient to say that Horn and Downes leave a distinctly Buggles-esque impression on the album, which in turn removes the Yes sound from it.

The album opens with the 24-minute suite that is Fly From Here. Those hoping for a new Close to the Edge or Gates of Delirium will be bitterly disappointed. This new form of Yes fall into the predictable trap of sticking wholly different songs together to make one suite, forming a truly incohesive track. Those wishing to point out that tracks like Supper's Ready, A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers and Nine Feet Underground were formed in a similar way, should be informed that whilst those tracks had interesting and complex parts, Fly From Here is a dull affair made up from bland pop songs. The lyrics of the different parts do appear to be linked to each other, but one misses the good old Jon days when lyrics were meaningless and pure sound was paramount.

Maybe the saddest thing about this suite is that the first part - We Can Fly - is actually a good track. It's uplifting and melodic and really quite good as a stand alone track. In fact this was an out-take from a Buggles album circa 1981, which was shelved until it's use for this release. However, the second and third parts of the suite are lengthy pop songs with limited appeal. If you're going to write a suite of music with different tracks in this way, you should make sure they don't sound like stand-alone songs and more like integral parts of the suite. This suite could be compared to Dream Theater's Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence which, although boasting an impressive 42 minutes in length, has parts that play out like stand-alone songs, yet again yielding an unsatisfying listen. Another example would be Rush's The Fountain of Lamneth. Really the artist should realise that a suite is meant to be much more than a bunch of songs stuck together.

With Parts 2 and 3 out the way, the suite takes an odd turn at Part 4, Bumpy Ride. Right off the bat, you know something is up when a supposedly 'prog' track is called something like 'Bumpy Ride', and in this case you would be right to do so. Bumpy Ride is essentially a shameful last-ditch effort to sound progressive after realising that in the first 20 minutes, there's hardly any prog to be seen. The music sounds like it has been lifted from a cartoon, and the suite loses whatever sincerity it had had at that point. Needless to say, this instrumental sounds silly and forced, and utterly tawdry when compared to their majestic instrumentals of the past. It is pitiful to hear Yes desperately trying to sound progressive when they were once the masters of the genre. On a side note, it is interesting to wonder how a Yes cover of Mohombi's Bumpy Ride would sound: 'I wanna boom bang bang with your body yo', lengthy instrumental in 11/8, 'We're gonna rough it up before we take it slow' etc.

The suite ends with a reprise of the We Can Fly section which would have sounded great only if the rest of the suite had. It simply does not follow on neatly or effectively from Bumpy Ride. It's painful to see Yes clearly failing at the suite format, but it provides a good example to future generations of proggers about what's good and what's bad. To pour salt into the wound, Fly From Here is now Yes's longest track, beating The Gates of Delirium by nearly two minutes. Of course, this 'record' is a hollow one, as Fly From Here should be seen as a few pop tracks stitched together, instead of a fully blown prog suite like Gates.

Do you remember when Yes wrote and released tracks like Heart of the Sunrise and Close to the Edge? Back then, Yes had balls. Unfortunately, the selection of shorter tracks on this album go to show that this is absolutely not true any more. For example, The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be is as bland and uninteresting as it's name suggests. Hour of Need is also quite underwhelming in nature. Howe's solo piece Solitaire is pleasant to listen to but completely forgettable.

Life On A Film Set is a bizarre composition. There is a progressive element to this song, as the sound of the song changes halfway through, but the entire thing is brought down by the repeated lyric 'Riding a tiger'. What does it mean?! It sounds like some awful metaphor, and the constant repetition makes the song feel asinine. On top of this, the musical themes in the second half are overused and grating.

This leaves Into The Storm, another more progressive affair. Strangely enough, this track is as close as the album gets to sounding like the true Yes, but this is certainly not a song to shout about. To me, this song doesn't feel fully realised, as there are parts where the band could have sounded amazing, but instead choose to sound average. Essentially, though there are no particular flaws to this track, there is nothing about it that makes me want to hear it again.

I cannot finish this review without commenting on the newcomer, Benoît David. As a singer, he holds up pretty well on this album. Here's a man who has made a profession out of singing Yes songs, so it's only natural that he should sing them well here. However, besides his voice, I don't really feel his presence within the band in the way that you can feel Jon and his crazy mysticism. Despite being a credited as a full-time member, he merely acts as a session musician here. He doesn't seem to have had much impact on the band himself, despite taking away what Jon had there. In all honesty, I feel sorry for the guy, because it must be a dream come true for him to be the lead singer for Yes, but on the other hand he's made a lot of hardcore fans angry and, with this album, has nothing to show for it. Still, he is not the cause of the low quality of this album as most fans would have expected, and for that he should be grateful.

If this were any other band, I would consider this a 2 star release, as it is still listenable. However, 'Fly From Here' loses the extra point because of the fact that it is a Yes album. Fans of Yes aren't buying this because they think it's going to be a load of second-rate pop songs. People are still hoping for the Yes's return to form: their second coming if you will. After a gap of 10 years, you would really hope that Yes could do better than this. Throughout the album, it feels like the band haven't really put in the effort. This album is so awful, that 'Tormato' seems great in comparison, because at least you could hear Yes putting in the effort to please the listeners, even though it was misguided. I personally have egg on my face for believing that Yes could sound great again, and it is going to take a strict diet of the band's classic albums to wash out the taste of this travesty. 'Fly From Here' is a disappointment, and I recommend that you don't waste your money on it.

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Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5, really. I was quite surprised by Yes latest release. Granted, i had very little expectations on this one. First and foremost Iīm and always was a big Jon Anderson fan. To me it is inconceivable to hear yes without him. Second, I was never a big fan of Drama. So I was not happy when I heard abou t his sacking and Wakemanīs leaving. And not really thrilled when I heard the Drama line up was back. Well, not completely. Geoff Downess was back on keyboards alright, but Trevor Horn is not the singer this time. But i was not that interested anyway. However, several friends talked endelessly about this record. So much so I decided to give it a shot. And I was quite surprised by how good it came across in the end.

Ok, this is not even close of their best stuff of the 70īs. But I found Fly From Here quite refreshing and inspired, something the latter Yes studio albums were not. The overall music is different, but charming. Steve Howe is the one that shines the most here, with his trademark guitar licks and solos soaring all the way through the CD (yet, not even him is overwhelming). The rest of the band sounds a bit subdue, but maybe this is what the new music asked for. I was surprised how discreet the once so flashy Downes is now. Still the music is quite good, even if much less bombastic than we would expect. I was totally blown away by the title track six part suite: it is one of their best songs ever and I loved Benoit Davidīs voice. He surely sounds a lot like Jon Anderson, but nothing here seems forced or unnatural. It looks like he is just that way and it works wonders here. I guess I had to change my mind about not swallwing Andersonīs departure. If you canīt have him, then I must admit David is next best thing.

Unfortunatly the remaining tracks are not as strong or remarkable as the first (something very common on any latter-day Yes album), but none is bad. The best is the closer Into The Storm, another fine moment in here. Solitaire is a little acoustic guitar piece. The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be, Life On A Film and Hour Of Need are ok songs. trevor Horn production is very good.

Conclusion: a nice surprise. The music may be different, simpler and lighter, but it is very good anyway. Yes lately was just repeating a formula and it was wearing down fast. This time they made a worthy record. With a little more efford on the songwriting department and some road work with the new line up and Iīm sure theyīll come up with something really outstanding for their discography.

A good new start.

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Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Drama part 2. Fly From Here part 1 ' We Can Fly was the first song that Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes rehearsed with Yes before they became part of the band for the Drama album. They played the song live a few times (it can be found on 'The Word Is Live') but didn't make its way onto the final album. It has been expanded here into a 5 part 24 minute 'epic' (although the individual parts are quite distinct) with the addition of an overture, reprise, instrumental section and a couple of new songs using a similar motif to part 1.Unsurprisingly it sounds similar to Drama, although more on the poppy side as most of the music is from Horn and Downes and this is the Drama line up with new man Benoit David on lead vocals. Horn and Downes have added a more melodic feel to this album that was missing from some of the more recent Yes material. Whether this is to everyone's taste is debatable, especially if you were looking for a return to the progressive epic era of the early 70s.

Of the other material, we have a Squire lead vocal on his song 'The Man You Always Wanted To Be', another Horn/Downes number 'Life on a Film Set' (which is lyrically suspect but has a catchy vocal hook), an excellent Howe number 'Hour of Need' where David's vocals are impressive followed by a Howe guitar instrumental 'Solitaire' which is nice but perhaps a bit disjointed. Finally a band written number 'Into the Storm' is a great ending, with a vocal from the title track drifting in.

Of the band members, Howe and Squire are on good form, Howe in particular contributing some of his trademark soloing, David proves to be a fine vocalist, if perhaps lacking a little in character, and Downes' keyboards help to provide a great overall sound to the album. Only White is strangely subdued here, with very little in the way of drum fills.

Overall this is my favourite Yes album since Drama and a very pleasant surprise. After the recent upheavals and the loss of Anderson, I wasn't expecting much but now I can't wait for the next one.

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Posted Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As good I would have expected, "Fly From Here" sounds very much Drama era Yes, with more than a nod in the direction of their symphonic predecesors, though slightly lacks the impact of Drama and the adventurism of their early albums.

I understand the main theme songs were written during the Drama sessions but never used, they are strong Yes tracks and pleased to see them brought out "into the light" (he he!) here, all the songs are good and up to standard, Fair do's the production on this album sounds magnificent as a good Yes album should on my vinyl copy, no excuse for poor sound in this modern age of state of the art studio technology, though i've heard a few duffers over the last few years.

New singer Benoit David seems born to fill Jon Anderson's shoes, though playing safe he is a good soundalike, he slightly lacks the impact, light and shade of his predecessors but is pleasant enough to listen to, maybe he'll settle in better after a tour and be more confident on the next album.

The other legendary performers sound in fine form, their signature solos, licks and phrases are all there to enjoy again and sound refreshed from their long abscence from each other. Yes has had many trials and tribulations over the years but doubt if we'll see Rick Wakeman back with the band, though i did hear one of his sons Oliver was up for the job and worked with the band on the new album but was dismissed...? ....shame.

Great artwork and flight theme all go together to make a great comeback album for Yes, though the old purist cynics could have a field day criticising it, the guys have stood up well here to keep up their reputations on all counts, personally i am just chuffed to have a new pretty well up to standard Yes album in my hands, the Spirit of Prog is still alive and kickin', show 'em guys!!

Though Fly From Here is by no means a masterpiece, it will remain a worthy addition to Yes fans and Prog fans alike, and the album will remain on my turntable for some time to come i know. .

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Posted Friday, July 15, 2011

Review by Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Yes: Fly From Here [2011]

Rating: 6/10

A new Yes album is a big deal - not only for the progressive-rock community, but for me personally. Yes is my favorite band; I grew up with Yes music, and it has resonated with me for years. It's the cornerstone of my musical personality. Needless to say, a new release from the band (and the first in ten years) was something that I was incredibly anxious to hear. "Anxious" is the right word - I was incredibly excited to hear something new from some of my all-time favorite musicians, but I was also skeptical. The main reason for this skepticism is obvious: the absence of Jon Anderson. It's nearly indisputable that Jon is (not was) the heart and soul of Yes. This role applies to him not only because of his voice, but because of his overall persona and atmosphere. In more ways than one, Jon takes much of the credit for making "Yes" more than just a band name. Since the debacle that occurred with him and the rest of the band a few years ago, I've felt that Yes has only partially existed.

Enough about Jon, though. He's not here, and neither I nor any other Yes fan can do anything about it. So, how does Benoit's performance stack up? There's no doubt that he has chops as a vocalist (although some painful videos taken from the band's current tour have revealed him not to be a perfect one), and his voice is certainly well-formed. Does he fill Jon's shoes? No, because they cannot be filled. He was labeled as an "Anderson impersonator" by many who had seen his performances with Yes prior to the release of this album, and for the most part I agreed. I was thus surprised by his performance on this album, because he sounds almost nothing like Jon here. His delivery is substantially lower, and this is not a bad thing. If there's going to be another vocalist besides Jon, he should sound like himself rather than a half-baked impersonator of somebody else; also, Benoit sounds much more comfortable with the range he has found for himself here. The result is a solid vocal performance with a few fantastic moments. There are many dull moments as well, but I'm still impressed with most of his work on Fly From Here.

Geoff Downes appears on keys for the first time in thirty years. His performance is unremarkable in every way. He plays his parts, many of which are well composed, but he does so as if the band dragged him out of bed in the morning and he was still a bit groggy-eyed. It sounds like he doesn't want his playing to be heard. Putting this all aside, the fraction of the classic lineup that remains intact (Howe, Squire, and White) sounds fantastic. This almost doesn't even need to be said. Squire chugs away with all the energy and finesse that one comes to expect from his playing, and White is as solid as ever. The real star of the show here, however, is Howe. The vast majority of excellent moments here consist of his signature guitar work. Unlike Downes, it's obvious that he's deeply invested in the material.

The first 10-15 minutes of this album are probably the best. "Fly From Here - Overture" begins with an excellent piano riff, and it builds in intensity with Howe's guitar and Squire's bass. "Fly From Here Pt. I - We Can Fly" begins with soft synths and vocals. Benoit's ethereal and chilling singing in this section is by far the highlight of his vocal performance. The chorus is solid, and Howe continues to shine, particularly during the song's conclusion. This whole track is overwhelmingly Drama-esque. Howe is the star yet again on "Fly From Here Pt. II - Sad Night at the Airfield", showcasing some absolutely gorgeous classical guitar. As strong as it is, however, I feel like this track could have been much more powerful if Downes had put more feeling into his synths. "Fly From Here Pt. III - Madman at the Screens" is another track featuring the Drama sound. The main riff is catchy during the verses, but the chorus isn't quite up to par. "Fly From Here Pt. IV - Bumpy Ride" is an unremarkable instrumental. It feels like filler that was only put here in order to make the "Fly From Here" suite sound more like an "epic." The suite ends well with "Fly From Here Pt. V - We Can Fly (Reprise)", with more great guitar work and a reprisal of the excellent main theme. "The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be" is a throwaway track. It's nothing other than a bland pop-rock song. I'm mystified as to why they included this on the album. "Life on a Film Set" is another highlight for Benoit. Howe's acoustic guitar and Squire's bass add to the vocals and make this track a winner. "Hour of Need" is a fairly corny acoustic rock song with weak lyrics. Tracks like this make me miss Jon tremendously, even though Howe's guitar is excellent as always. "Solitaire" is a superb solo acoustic piece from Howe. This is perhaps the best track on the album; it's on par with classics such as "The Clap", "Mood For a Day", and "Masquerade." "Into the Storm" has a catchy main hook, and the conclusion is magnificent. As with many other moments on the album, Howe propels this track into excellence.

Despite my skepticism, I have to admit that Fly From Here is a good album. However, it certainly is not a great one. It's mostly what I expected: good music, but not fully Yes music. This is still Yes - Howe and Squire manage to remind everyone of that - but not fully so. Even the strongest moments on this album lack the heart that I come to expect from a Yes record, and the weak moments are just that: weak. Although this is not the album I wanted after ten years, I can't deny the quality present in much of this material. "Solitaire", "We Can Fly", and "Into the Storm" manage to make Fly From Here an album that leaves me somewhat satisfied. At the same time, however, I dearly miss the classic lineup. I simply can't help but lament that fact that they're not all making music together anymore. Regardless, taking the music at face value reveals a competent release from some of the greatest musicians/composers of all time.

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Posted Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Could be a bit more dramatic

Fly From Here is the first new Yes studio album in precisely 10 years. The exact line-up of the Drama album from 1980 is back with the only exception that Trevor Horn - who did the lead vocals on Drama - having now moved to the producer's chair and new guy Benoit David talking over for Horn behind the microphone (though Horn still provides backing vocals here along with Squire and Howe and Squire even takes the lead on one track).

Many reviewers have emphasised the similarities between the sound of this album and that of Drama and there are indeed similarities. However, Fly From Here sounds a bit like a toned down or even watered down version of Drama to these ears. While Drama is one of my all-time favourite Yes albums (and rated with five stars along with Close To The Edge, Fragile and The Yes Album), it would be unreasonable to expect another masterpiece on the lines of Drama here. And neither did I. Indeed, my expectations for this album were not high. Still, even if good, this album is a bit of a disappointment for me. The comparisons with Drama must be joined by a strong disclaimer: there is simply nothing on Fly From Here like the metallic and heavy Machine Messiah or the frantic Tempus Fugit. Squire, Howe, Geoff Downes and Alan White were on fire on Drama, but on the present album they sound sleepy and lazy in comparison. Fly From Here is an altogether more laidback and less "dramatic" affair than was Drama. The only track on Drama that can give you a good idea of the Fly From Here material is perhaps Man In A White Car.

One of the main aspects of the Yes sound is that bass, guitars, drums and keyboards all "compete" with each other for being in the foreground of the sound. While most other Rock bands rely on a rhythm section of bass and drums and only guitars and lead vocals are allowed into the foreground of the sound, in Yes music every instrument is usually in the foreground including the keyboards, creating a uniquely "loaded" sound that is full of excitement. This was very much true of albums like Close To The Edge, Relayer, Drama and many others. Fly From Here is a bit lacking in this respect. Still, Fly From Here is not bad as such.

Like Trevor Horn, Benoit David too has a Jon Anderson-like voice and with the familiar voices of Squire and Howe in the background, Fly From Here is very much a Yes album vocally speaking and I don't miss Anderson here at all. Still, it must be pointed out that Yes has always been joined by strong personalities with strong musical identities: Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman in the early 70's, Allan White in the mid 70's and Trevor Rabin in the early 80's, etc. all of them very different from the people they replaced. Howe was no Peter Banks clone, Wakeman no Tony Kaye clone, White no Bill Bruford clone, Rabin no Steve Howe clone, etc. Instead, all of these people brought something new and fresh to the band. Benoit David, on the other hand, is a Jon Anderson clone and he thus seems out of place in this collection of people, talented though he is. If I were in the band's shoes, I would not have opted for a sound-alike but instead for someone who is strongly dissimilar to Anderson - someone with his very own vocal identity, someone with a unique voice in its own right. It would have been very interesting to hear what Yes would have sounded like with a totally different type of vocalist. Still, David does a fine job here.

The title suite that forms the first half of the album is the best part of Fly From Here. The six parts do not form a continuous piece of music like Close To The Edge, The Revealing Science Of God, Gates Of Delirium, etc. but rather are independent songs interconnected by some common themes. The opening Overture is promising comes to a rather abrupt end to leave space for the mellow We Can Fly (that was released as a single). While not weak at all, I feel that the overture could have been developed further and a more smooth transition could have been made perhaps. Squire's distinctive bass lines and Howe's unique guitar sound make it unquestionably Yes, but Downes and White are somewhat relegated to the background. Overall, a pleasant suite for hungry Yes-fans.

The second half of the album is in general less interesting compared to the first half, but the closing track Into The Storm is good enough. Band leaders Squire and Howe get their own individual tracks. The Chris Squire-led The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be is sadly one of the weakest and lamest songs in the entire Yes catalogue and also in comparison with Squire's works outside of Yes (Conspiracy, The Syn and solo). The lyrics are cheesy and every single member is on autopilot. Howe provides an acoustic solo piece aptly called Solitaire. It is pleasant enough but hardly one of his better pieces in the style.

The conclusion is that Fly From Here is far behind Magnification, Keystudio and The Ladder in quality, and is even slightly behind Big Generator, Talk and Open Your Eyes. Indeed, in my opinion, Fly From Here is the least good Yes album since 90125 from 1983 (the only Yes studio album I have rated as low as with two stars) and one of the least good Yes albums ever. Still, a good one from these veterans of progressive Rock.

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Posted Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review by progpositivity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Yet another example that Prog-life doesn't end at 60 after all!

Although the BUGGLES are BACK with a vengance on this album, Horn and Downes' compositions graciously redeem their presence by allowing plenty of room for Steve Howe's guitar and Chris Squire's bass guitar performances to shine like diamonds. Even Rick Wakeman's familial presence is fleetingly etched in the form of son Oliver's keyboard performance on a few tracks here and there. (Score a songwriting credit to Oliver for his part in the creation of the strong group effort album closer "Into the Storm!)

Steve Howe writes and manages to coax a rich on-key baritone vocal harmony for "Hour of Need". His solo guitar piece "Solitaire" may not be pack quite the razzle-dazzle of "Clap" but it is beatiful and wondrous with a graceful magic all its own.

Chris Squire's vocals take center stage on "The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be", a pleasant song with delightfully playful little time signature shifts in the verses.

And although I truly HATE that Jon is not the lead vocalist for Yes on this album... I simply must confess that Benoit David's vocal performances on this album are simply superb. Not only is he an incredible vocalist in his own right, he is THE RIGHT man for this job at this moment in this place and time. Quite amazingly, he has somehow managed to find Yes' 2011 "sweet spot" vocally. He isn't so unlike Jon - especially whenever the songs require him to reach angelic high notes as to make the band sound "out of character". But neither is he so like Jon as to sound like a pale imitation. He is every bit as comfortable in a lower register as a high one. And while I had approached the album 100% prepared for Benoit to do his best to approximate the tone and cadence of a certain previous vocalist for this UK supergroup of Prog, I was totally surprised to discover that the name of this ex-Yes vocalist would far more often be Trevor Horn than Jon Anderson!

On first listen, the album's "prog-suite" sounds more like a small collection of tunes pasted together than an organic whole emerging from the best bits of endless jam sessions (like they did way back in the "good old classic glory days of Yes). The second and third spins, however, reveal a synergistic sympathy from one song to another. They really do inter-relate with one another musically to create a greater whole, even if their transitions from one to the next sound a little bumpy and uneven. Speaking of "bumpy", oddly enough, the one portion of the suite that feels most contrived is the most "progrock" section, Howe's "Bumpy Ride". If I didn't know Steve better, I'd think it had been concocted as part of a cynically gratuitous plot to appease the "pure proggers" among us with a "15/8" section. "See? Now get outta my face! You can't say this 21 minute longe suite of songs isn't 'prog' now!" ;-)

Truth be told, you might be better advised to start this album on track #7. Take in the straight-forward Chris song "The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be". Move onward to the more diverse and emotional "Life on a Film Set". Flow into Steve Howe's sincere folk rock on "Hour of Need" before deeply drinking in his solo acoustic guitar piece "Solitaire". Allow yourself to appreciate and enjoy the strong band composition "Into the Storm".

By the time you arrive back at Track #1, you will already know what this album is going to be about. You won't get "teased" by the first 90 seconds of a 20+ minute "suite" into thinking the album might be a Prog Masterwork or even a Drama type rock-fest. This album is a gentler, less ambitious set of high quality songs from a mature group of gentlemen with nothing left to prove. And while this album is far from the most "progressive" thing currently on my mp3 playlist, neither is it the most lifeless or uninspired.

"We Can Fly from Here" was the name of the original demo that Buggles Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes gave to Chris way back in 1980. An expanded version (with a second part) almost made the Buggles album "Adventures in Modern Recording". While it was still a candidate for that Buggles album, Horn and Downes "fleshed out" various ideas for the piece, some of which ended up becaming the basis for "Sad NIght at the Airfield" and "Madman at the Screens".

In the grand scheme of things, this album, although very good, is non-essential. Even so, anytime a classic band from Prog's yesteryear releases a set of songs this inspired, I can't help but think it makes an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. Just be sure to buy "Close to the Edge" first!

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Posted Monday, July 18, 2011

Review by m2thek
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If nothing else, one of the things 2011 will be remembered for is the year that a bunch of classic-era prog acts decided to release new albums. What is possibly the most highly anticipated of them all is Fly From Here, Yes' first album in a decade. While the anticipation was met with skepticism at the lack of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, the album is generally pretty good, and is a fine release from the boys.

First off, let's cover the two changes to the lineup: Benoit David on vocals, and Geoff Downes on keyboards. David is a good Anderson clone for the most part. There are a few times when I get so into the music and his voice that I completely forget that it's not Anderson and I really don't have a problem with that. He's a good singer, and fits in with the rest of the members, and that's good enough for me. Downes on the other hand is a bit of a different story. His keyboards are mainly reserved to the background, with his handful of leads being less than memorable; one of them being pushed extremely far down in the mix and the other sounding not quite Wakemany enough to get away with it. I enjoy Downes' contributions to the atmosphere, but the lack of more solos is pretty apparent.

The other members all play their parts, with Steve Howe being the strongest on guitar. In general, the music is softer and at a slower pace than the Yes I'm used to, but the composition remains strong. Yes manages to sound like Yes, but without quite harking back to the sound of the 70s. Having not heard anything since Awaken, however, this could just be their 80s or 90s sound in a new era. Regardless of what decade this music sounds like, it's really nice to listen to, even if the band does show their age a bit.

The focus of the album is the 6-part titular suite which gets things off to a good start. It doesn't approach the grandiosity of the epics from yesteryear, but it's consistently good. Even though the subsections are very distinct with only a few lyrics and motifs being shared between them, it still manages to feel like one song. The transitions between them are also quite rough, which is the biggest disappointment of the suite. The individual tracks are all solid, with a lot of good ensemble play and vocal passages. The harmonies are my favorite part of the whole album, and it seems like the band has retained this aspect of their music the best. While the penultimate section is pretty goofy, the final reprise is pretty satisfying and concludes the suite really nicely.

The next three songs are much shorter affairs, and are the low points of the album. They all have a couple of decent moments, but overall are quite weak when compared to the opener. The "good" thing about this is that the trio is right in the middle, so you're at least not left with the mediocrity as a final thought. The last two tracks are really good, and come at a time in the album when it really needs it. The first, Solitaire, is a beautiful classical guitar piece by Howe, and the second is a really energetic song that reminds me the most of classic Yes. These two close out the album with a bang, and leave me with a great feeling.

Even though I don't care for the three tracks in between the opener and Solitaire, there's still a good amount of really solid music to be found here. Of course, if you put this album up against Close to the Edge, you're never going to like it for what it is. However, if you manage your expectations you'll find that Fly From Here is a really good album, and a strong 2011 release that proves that the band has still got it.

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Posted Friday, July 22, 2011

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars The Buggles strike back.....It was about time

Since 1980 when the band released the excellent "Drama", I heard the phrase "YES is back" several times, sadly all of them were huge disappointments. First came the terrible "Rabin" years that almost destroyed the good memories I formed through years of listening the band. Then came "Union" and several boring albums, including the average "The Ladder" which gave me some hopes but was only a mirage.

Now after a decade of concerts, heard the same phrase again, but this time with three novelties, Jon Anderson (who in the later years was more annoying than usual) was replaced by Benoit David, the return of the amazing Geoff Downes, and with him came Trevor Horn, who rescued the sound of "Drama" that I liked so much.

Even when "Fly From Here" is not a masterpiece in the level of "Close to the Edge" or "Relayer", we are before an excellent album that pays tribute to the original sound of the band but adapting the band to a new century with original arrangements and imaginative compositions.

As everybody who knows me suspects, I'm not a fan of Jon Anderson's voice, but he is one of the symbols of YES, so I was afraid that "Benoit David" would try to please the older fans trying to be a clone of Jon, so it was a relief when discovered that he tried to sound like nobody else except "Benoit David", and does a great job. Of course the addition of "Trevor Horn" backing vocals help to create solid choirs and boost the lead vocals.

But what impressed me more is the ability of the band to sound more cohesive than ever, specially the interplay between Howe and Downes, who sound as if they had been playing together by decades and not only some months.

The music is really good and the arrangements even better, plus is great to have lyrics that sound a bit coherent for a change, so there's little to complain about "Fly From Here".

It's true, this is not the YES we are used too, but it's a second chance for the former BUGGLES, who collaborated in the creation of the last YES great album in decades, and only received a good bye after saving YES with the release of "Drama".

Now, if we want to be extremely honest, we must admit even when the "Fly From Here"suite is extremely good and the beautiful "House of Need" reminds me a bit of the "Your Move" entrance, we must accept the best days of YES as composers are behind them, but at least this release gives us a bit of hope that we will see our long time heroes finishing their long career with one or two more good albums instead of aging as a band making cover versions of themselves on stage.

In the 70's, I would had rated "Fly From Here" with no more than 3 stars,. because it pales in comparison with the real YES masterpieces, but in the XXI Century, when they took the risk of releasing a good album, I can't give them less than 4 stars, because it's a new beginning for an old band.

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Posted Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Let's face it; does a band like Yes really stand much of a chance these days for gaining consistent critical acclaim from the prog community in general? When you've released such pivotal albums as Close To The Edge, Relayer, The Yes album etc, unless you replicate them or better them (virtually impossible) then you're simply not going to win universal praise. Now Whilst Fly From Here is never going to trouble those albums in best Yes album polls what I can say it's a very good album, their best in fact since Drama. Yes may have released a few better tracks than most of the material on here since then, Homeworld and Mind Drive to name a couple, but for sheer consistency this one wins over everything post 1980.

So their best since Drama, coincidently (?) their last and only other album without Jon Anderson. Not surprisingly, Fly From Here is going to/getting a lot of parallels drawn with that album, not least because it reinstates the Buggles duo of Geoff Downes on keyboards and Trevor Horn, though this time in purely a production capacity. The biggest and most controversial change is of course is the replacement of Anderson with Benoit David, a former member of a Yes tribute band as well as vocalist with Mystery. It has to be said that despite my feelings that Anderson can't be replaced he does a fine job and was chosen because of his similar vocal register to the great man.

Musically Fly From Here comes across as a more natural successor to Drama than 90125 which practically reinvented the band. It lacks the power and punch of Drama being a more light and airy and melodic affair but in places it kicks ass as on Into The Storm and in places on the title track, the six part piece that incidentally began life as a shorter song in the original Horn/Downes days. It's no rival to Close To The Edge of course and is more a series of short songs revisiting established themes in places but what it lacks in musical drama (no pun intended) makes up for in some strong hooks.

Perhaps not in keeping with the overall feel of the album The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be, with Chris Squire on lead vocals turns out to be a melodic highpoint and a very acceptable rock ballad. Life On A Film Set is quite diverse for its short length but perhaps the albums high point is closer Into The Storm which captures the band in rocking mode with some strong hooks too.

Naturally for a band of Yes' ability they turn in a good performance with some particularly pleasing playing from Steve Howe including a solo acoustic piece, Solitaire. I was also pleased with Squire's bass work and Downes along with drummer Alan White do what's required without particularly excelling.

Overall Fly From Here is a very welcome return for Yes and whilst not a classic is a better album than I ever thought they'd make again after the disappointment of most of the previous post Drama albums. Those still pining for the old Yes can go and listen to the new Wobbler CD, the rest of us can just enjoy them for what they are now. Enjoyable stuff and worthy of 3 ― stars.

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Posted Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Yes' 20th studio album (counting Keys to Ascension I and II as two separate releases) bears a lot of striking similarity to their 10th studio album, Drama. It is one of only two yes albums that does not feature Jon Anderson (the other being Drama). It features the Buggles. Its release has been pretty controversial because of the vocalist, and the reception has been mixed. The band seems to be aware of these similarities, because the two black cats from the Drama album are featured on the cover here as well. It's a nice throwback (and this is probably the best Yes cover art since their classic Fragile to Relayer covers).

For me, the album doesn't really do one thing or another - certainly, nothing in it is so bad as to make me cringe and wish I hadn't heard it. This is not Open Your Eyes again, this is an album that is genuinely enjoyable. But neither is it an album that moves me to great heights or spellbinds me with it's musical majesty, the way the best Yes music from the past has.

It can be very easy to be disappointed by such results, especially considering this album was ten years coming (the last album the band released being 2001's Magnification). But truthfully I don't know what fans were expecting - Yes has not been the Yes they were in the '70s since, well, the '70s. What a Yes release is or means no longer has a simple set of parameters like Rickenbacker bass or Steve Howe solo track. Yes is a band that, for better or worse, has greatly diversified, in many directions that are not quite that similar to their '70s output. So to come into this album with the expectations of...anything, really, just demonstrates that you have pretty much missed every Yes release after Tormato.

One thing about this album that will receive a fair amount of flack is that it is both named after and based around a track that Yes played in their '80s tour, Fly From Here. It was a track that Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes (aka, The Buggles) brought with them when they came into the band back then (unlike most of Dramas tracks, which were pretty fleshed out before The Buggles entered the band). In fact, it was originally meant to be on the album, but due to time constraints (since they already had to scrap the material from when Jon and Rick were in the band), they weren't able to record it before the album was due. Well, they performed it live, it was relatively well received (certainly no classic, but fun and pleasant nonetheless), and then The Buggles left Yes and they never got to record it in the studio. The '80s version could be heard in the The Word Is Live boxset.

Does this story sound at all familiar - a band creating a studio release out of a track they performed live but never got to put to tape properly before? It should, because Magma's E-Re, which came out two years ago, did just that and was rather well received.

Fly From Here was a bit less fleshed out when it came to the table, though. Unlike E-Re, Yes has not really performed anything from the Drama era since - well - The Drama Era. Jon Anderson refused to perform it live. But three years ago, when Jon could not tour and the band welcomed Benoit David to fill his shoes, they took the opportunity to play some of the material that had been, to date, ignored. The fans loved it.

Let's face it, Yes are not getting any younger. They had the chance to record this track, and they went for it while they could - they expanded it, and honestly, they didn't do a bad job. It's certainly not an epic in the sense of Gates of Delirium, Awaken, or Close to the Edge. It's a suite of related songs, and I think even the band is aware of this (it's the only 20 minute piece they've released so far split into separate tracks on the CD).

The odd thing to me is that the songwriting credits for Fly From Here are mostly attributed to Downes and Horn . It was their track to begin with - so this makes sense - but it does kind of challenge fans to accept this as a legit Yes piece. Squire does have credits in parts 1 and 5, and part 4 (Bumpy Flight) was written by Steve Howe.

Anyways, in terms of how well they pulled it off, it's good. It's got catchy moments, some good atmosphere in part 2, and they even wrap it up nicely with the reprise at the end. It's melodic and sounds a bit more like Buggles-Yes than Drama. Again, this can probably be attributed to the fact that a lot of this track was written by The Buggles, as opposed to The Buggles being added to pre-written songs.

"Side 2" of the album (aka, the non-epic tracks) range in quality. Life on a Film Set is written by the Buggles, and while it clearly demonstrates that while what they write may not be as complex as what Yes fans are used to, they are better song writers than Squire and the two non-Yes members who helped him write The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be (the worst track on the album, in my opinion).

The Howe-penned tracks (Hour of Need, Solitaire) are the more chilled out on the album. Hour of Need is probably the second worst after The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be, but it's short. Solitaire is the obligatory Steve Howe solo and it's alright. It's not his best but it has that classic Steve guitar sound, and Steve is one of my favorite parts of Yes so I never complain about the classic Steve guitar sound.

The band did all collaborate together for the last track, and it is a pretty strong one, and even wraps up the album nicely by reprising the Fly From Here theme in the last minute.

One question a lot of fans have come into this asking is, how will Benoit do? The good news is, unlike Horn, he did not try to sing like Jon Anderson. I mean, there's no denying that on Drama, Horn did a great job filling Andersons shoes (as good as you could expect anyone to, anyways), but he failed to really create his own identity in the band. (And attempting to sing like Anderson on tour was more than he could handle). Benoit is singing in his normal singing voice, and it makes it very clear here that Yes are not trying to be what they were before - they are integrating Benoit.

Unfortunately, this is not a case of Yes up until the late 80s, where each new member brought something new to the table and changed the bands sound. Benoit is here singing - doing an alright job at it but really not impressing in any way - but, it doesn't sound like he is pushing the band in any new direction or influencing the writing in any significant way. He's just there - filling in the spots where the words go.

Overall - well, this sounds to me more like a band tying up loose ends than a band on the verge of another creative breakthrough. They wanted to give Benoit legitimacy as a band member by putting him on an album, they wanted to take advantage of recording an album without Jon to finally use that Fly From Here thing they started 30 years ago, and then they tossed on some more songs so it wouldn't just be an EP. An EP with just the Fly From here suite and Into The Storm may have worked better, and given the band more time to build up strong writing chemistry, but that's just my opinion.

This may be the last Yes album, and while it's not quite the send-off Abbey Road was, at least they didn't end it on something along the lines of Open Your Eyes.

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#498558) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 06, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars More Drama 10 years later for Yes.

The long awaited Yes album after a hiatus of ten years absence from the studio is one of the talking point of the prog community. I think some may have expected another classic along the lines of 'Close to the Edge' or 'Fragile' but of course that would not happen as Yes have moved onto a new decade of music and now Anderson is once again absent. One of the burning questions is how would newcomer Benoit David stand the test of filling those immense shoes. As soon as I heard his voice I was pleasantly surprised because although he does not have the enigmatic dynamic power of Anderson, Benoit has a strong high falsetto voice that sounds decidedly Yes. Anderson's voice has dissipated over the years most noticeably in the live performance, so it was inevitable he would be moved on. It would have been nice to have Wakeman back on this return but alas it is not to be. Instead it is a return for Geoff Downes and vocalist Trevor Horn joins, and therefore comparisons to "Drama" are inevitable. The lyrics are not as stark as the early Yes catalogue, no mentions of Siberian Khatru's here, instead some provocative uplifting vocals are offered; "Along the edge of this airfield. Altometers reading zero. Nights are cold on this airfield I sit alone and watch the radar, caught in the beam falling slowly into the screen." The epic 20 minute opus title track in sections is a return to form for Yes, not as bombastic as the pieces on 'Topographic Oceans' but more accessible. 'Sad Night at the Airfield' is a masterpiece track, beautiful melodies and very ambient atmospherics.

"The quality of being airborne is a motif throughout 'Fly From Here'" boasts the band's official website. The music indeed seems to be airborne, taking off higher, always uplifting and vibrant. The themes of being borne into flight are reflective of the band becoming born again in this resurgence. Steve Howe excels on lead guitar on each track and the pulsating bassline of Squire can never be under estimated.

It took me a while to get used to the vocals but the harmonies and complex structures are transfixing. I don't think it can be compared to other Yes albums easily as this is a new incarnation of the immortal group. This is a new chapter for Yes and hopefully a take off point for bluer skies. 'Madman at the Screens' is a potent reminder that in order for us to remain grounded we must hold onto what matters, love and emotional stability. The Hammond sounds, strong guitar riffs and layered bright vocals are all positive augmentations. Downes is a great keyboardist and he excels on this track in particular. The epic title track is held together with segments of tension and release, impactful passages of incredible musicianship.

'Bumpy Ride' has a jaunty instrumental section with pulsating motifs and Howe's legendary guitar sound that is unmistakeable. Squire's bass and Alan White's percussion builds to a crescendo, then harmonies drift in, and it segues perfectly into the reprise of We Can Fly, bookending the piece masterfully.

The rest of the album is a series of bright poppy tracks that are no less the Yes style we have heard on their last few albums. Radio friendly with some prog moments. The band have been going some 43 years now so it is understandable that they have progressed from pure prog to a more commercial sound. 'Life on a Film Set', one of the highlights, is a quiet drifting song that builds, Benoit's vocals are nice but not as passionate as Anderson's were. He certainly sings the high parts effortlessly, and the best parts are where he is joined by Downes or is multitracked vocally to enhance the thin vocals. Howe's acoustics are well executed on this track and I particularly like the heavy retro feel and time sig of the middle section, as good as the old years of Yes. 'Hour of Need' is acoustically driven, with soft balladic harmonies, and a solid keyboard motif. 'Solitaire' is reminiscent of Howe sitting in front of an audience kanoodling on medieval style acoustic waiting for the band to come back on. It's been done before on other albums, though he is always well accomplished of course with nice harmonic ring outs and flamenco finger playing.

'Into the Storm' finishes the album in style with a rocking sound, tons of lead guitar licks and strong basic percussion. The harmonies are excellent, high parts are noteable, and it perhaps sounds more like "Drama" than other tracks. It is a fun song, and I guess the band are not into the dark reflective concepts of past years. They are into an upbeat hopeful thematic content that may be mistaken for kitsch commercialism. There are still wonderful prog moments spread throughout, and Benoit is not too bad at all in the scheme of things. It is a better album that perhaps the last 5 albums, but if you listen to 'Tales of Topographic Oceans' immediately after, you may be amazed at how masterful that album is in comparison to this latest release. The complexity, inspired originality and downright bombastic approach has been replaced over the years for this pop prog; really these two Yes lineups are completely different beasts. Those who come to this album may be disappointed if they expect it to be in the vein of the prog giants of yesteryear. I actually had no problems with the vibrant sound as at least there was an effort in producing one sprawling 20 minute epic, if nothing else. Although Downes plays again with Steve Howe thankfully the sound is not like Asia, the members still generate that Yes sound that has made them legends of prog. Anyway, they are back and hopefully this album will lead newcomers to their past masterpieces, namely their albums 'The Yes Album' up to 'Relayer', where they really transformed the face of prog rock. The lyrics of 'The Man you always wanted me to be' perhaps sums up the state of the band these days; "What have we become, what are we running away from, we need to see life in a very different way, learning what to do after all that we've been through, no longer lost we have found ourselves anew".

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#502856) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars For all of the strange twists and turns in the history of Yes, there is nothing, nothing more bizarre than the saga of Benoit David. To understand how we ended up with a Drama semi-sequel in 2011, we have to do a little rewind, and the best place to start is 2004.

After the 2004 35th Anniversary Tour (captured on the extremely entertaining Songs from Tsongas 2-DVD set, which featured a terrific 30-minute acoustic set in the middle: you've never heard "Roundabout" until you've heard "Roundabout" as a slow acoustic Chicago blues), I really believed that Yes was done, and I was ok with it. Everybody went off to do various projects that hadn't been a possibility while Yes was endlessly touring; Anderson did some solo touring, Squire briefly reunited with The Syn, Howe did some work with Asia again, and there was even a strange union of Alan White, Tony Kaye, Billy Sherwood and Jimmy Haun (the guy who subbed in for Howe a lot on Onion, not exactly the best thing to be known for). 2005 saw the release of the Word is Live boxset, but 2006 and 2007 passed with nary a peep from the band as a unit, and I was perfectly happy at the idea of the band, after such a tumultuous history, heading into retirement after having ended on such a freakishly high note with Magnification and the 35th Anniversary Tour.

In early 2008, though there were rumblings that Squire and Howe were cajoling Anderson to get back on the road as Yes, and plans were announced for the band's "Close to the Edge and Back" tour (with Oliver Wakeman replacing his semi-retired father on keyboards). Reading Anderson's descriptions of what he had in mind made me eager to see them again: among other things, he said that he wanted to maintain the presence of an acoustic set, and was thinking about arranging stripped-down acoustic versions of all four tracks from Tales. He also indicated that the band was working on new material specifically for the tour. I was so eager to go see this concert that I purchased a ticket for it for July 18th 2008: this date is significant because I was willing to go see Yes again rather than see The Dark Knight on its opening Friday, and I REALLY wanted to see The Dark Knight.

Then the unthinkable happened: Jon Anderson suffered acute respiratory failure weeks before the tour was scheduled to begin, and was told he needed to take six months off, which of course meant no touring. This did not sit well with the others: there were rumblings that Howe and Squire had been waiting on Anderson for a while, and they weren't ok with the idea of waiting on him more. The band was going to go out on tour somehow, and a singer was needed, Anderson's feelings be damned.

The band's solution for finding an Anderson stand-in was to scour YouTube for clips for Yes tribute band singers. Eventually they settled on Benoit David, a French-Canadian singer (who sounded like a cross between Anderson and Horn) with the tribute band Close to the Edge (and his own band called Mystery). With a singer in hand, the band prepared to tour, but they also seemed to recognize this as an opportunity. When I went and saw Maybe (my pet name for this version of Yes) in December '08, I was fascinated by the feel of the first half of the show: it had a bit of a scampish, "when the cat's away the mice will play" kind of feel to it (the second half felt more conventional, unfortunately). The band actually resurrected Drama material ("Tempus Fugit" in the first half of the show, "Machine Messiah" in the second, making it the only rarity in the second half, aside from a decent new Squire-song called "Aliens are Only Us from the Future"), as well as "Astral Traveller" (which was, uh, almost 40 years unplayed) and "Onward" (which, surprisingly, had only been played in the SLO shows prior to this). I was glad David was there: he seemed almost heroic, taking on the daunting task of filling Anderson's shoes, and I felt he would go down in history as a fine caretaker for the role that would be returned to Anderson some day.

Two things developed that left a sour taste in my mouth. The first was that, while I thought the band would take Anderson's opportunity to explore several nooks and crannies of the band's history that he didn't want to touch anymore, the band didn't bother to expand its setlist any further than it had in that initial tour. The second was that Squire announced the band would be going into the studio with this lineup, which meant that Jon Anderson had just been booted from Yes the same way Mike Pinder had been booted from The Moody Blues in favor of Patrick Moraz almost 30 years earlier. This was cold: at least Anderson had already left the band when the band recorded Drama. I was not thrilled, to say the least.

So the band headed into the studio, with Trevor Horn signed on as producer. In the midst of recording, a couple of other issues surfaced. The first was that the band decided to fire Oliver Wakeman and replace him with ... wait for it ... Geoff Downes. Yup, The Buggles were back together again! The second was that the band was apparently short on new material: according to the credits, one new track ("Into the Storm") was apparently written as a band (including credits from Wakeman and David), but otherwise, the material attributed to the Howe/Squire/White trio consists of a solo guitar piece from Howe ("Solitaire"), an okayish Howe ballad ("Hour of Need"), a ballad co-written by Squire and one of his Syn-mates (as well as another guy), and what appears to be a goofy chord sequence Howe had been messing around with (more on that later). So how on earth were they going to fill out the album? By mining old material, that's how. Serious Yes fans know, of course, that the title track comes from "We Can Fly from Here," which appears on the Word is Live boxset and was actually the song that Horn and Downes wanted to give to the band in the first place (Squire added some contributions to it as well). What they may forget is that Horn and Downes recorded a second Buggles album after Drama, and that there were a few unreleased demos floating around from the Adventures in Modern Recording sessions. Listen to the bonus tracks from the 2010 reissue of that album, and this album suddenly makes sense: "We Can Fly," "Sad Night at the Airfield" and "Life on a Film Set" all originate there, and apparently so does "Madman at the Screens" (though there's no recorded demo for that included there).

The album's big statement, of course, was to take a bunch of those old scraps and build a 24- minute suite, making it the longest Yes song ever if you count it as one track (and I guess it should be). In a way, I find the idea of making this into a suite a little bit silly; I really doubt that "We Can Fly," "Sad Night at the Airfield" and "Madman at the Screens" were originally conceived to go together, and the "binding" aspects of the suite (the "Overture" that's an instrumental version of part of "Madman," the reprise of "We Can Fly" at the end, the brief "See?!! We're still prog!!!" snippet of "Bumpy Ride") seem a little forced. Plus, for all of Geoff Downes' good traits (I may hate the bits of Asia I've heard, but I still love his Drama work, and I sure like me some Buggles), he isn't exactly the ideal keyboardist for arranging a suite that lasts more than 20 minutes. And yet, from having listened to these tracks in order so many times, I find they've become one in my mind, and I have to admit that I ripped them as a single track and only listen to them as such at this point.

I would have to say that I consider all three "main" parts of the suite good, though only "Sad Night at the Airfield" approaches greatness, mostly because of Howe's incredible pedal-steel work and some really atmospheric melody twists. I've always thought that "We Can Fly from Here" was good, but even when I considered it the superior of the two "new" numbers from the Drama shows (and I don't now: why couldn't the band have figured out how to work "Go Through This" into this album??), I felt it was a little underwritten lyrically ("And we can fly from here" is repeated too much in a way that makes it feel like a demo where Horn forgot to finish the lyrics and used this as a placeholder) and not quite as lovely as it intended to be. Still, it's got its rousing moments, and it sure is nice to have a clear recording of the track with Howe's nice rhythmic bits jumping out when emphasized. As for "Madman at the Screens," well, it's a little goofy, but it's goofy in the same quasi-romantic/nostalgic way that I find "Elstree" from The Age of Plastic, and I definitely like it. It's remarkable, if nothing else, how David is able to nail Horn's singing style from old.

So the suite is what it is: not great, but definitely good, and a fascinating attempt to make what is old seem new again. The second half is a little better for me, anyway. I'm not an enormous fan of either "The Man You Always Wanted Me to be" (the aforementioned Squire ballad) or "Hour of Need," but I wouldn't skip them either. "Man" is at worst a pleasant piffle, and while "Hour of Need" is a little too blatant in its use of the "Your Move" guitar sound and a little too tacky in its attempts at social commentary lyrics, it does have some nice singing and a decent melody. "Life on a Film Set" (formerly "Riding a Tide," almost note for note) is really good, though: it starts as a slow, majestic, acoustic ballad with keyboard underpinnings and turns into an up-tempo punctuated by repeated "Riding the tiger" vocal interjections. I'm not 100% sure that's David singing (though maybe Horn just has prominent harmonies/overlays), but whoever it is, I enjoy the performance.

"Solitare" is a perfectly enjoyable Howe acoustic piece: it'll never be as iconic as "Clap" or "Mood for a Day," and I can't say for sure I'd have noticed it in any other context, but it seems like a nice inclusion here. The band probably saved the best for last, though, and it's nice to hear a track that the whole band actually had a part in writing. "Into the Storm" almost starts off sounding like Free Hand-era Gentle Giant, jumping from a brief guitar/keyboard/bass line totally different from what I'd heard from Yes before, then heads into another keyboard sound I haven't heard much from Yes, before settling into the main song, centered around interesting instrumental textures and the best vocal harmonies on the album. There's just something really heartening about the use of David's voice in the "Armies of angels are leading me on ..." parts in the context of all the group harmonies, and there's enough going on underneath the "normal" song parts that, when it transitions into a mostly instrumental lengthy coda, it feels totally natural. Of course, I find myself rolling my eyes a little at the forced "epic sweep" of David singing "And we can fly from here" a few times over the coda, but this bothers me less than it originally did. And to think I once considered this one of the album's low points.

So for all of the craziness that went into making this album, the overall result is something that's definitely well above average compared to the rest of the world, but not especially noteworthy in the rankings of Yes albums. This isn't to say that there isn't a lot of good on this album: there are good songs, and David sounds just fine, and the instrumental parts seem perfectly fine (Howe doesn't force himself upon the sound much, but I don't mind that), and the production is ... fine. And yet ... if you're going to go through all of the absurdity that happened leading up to the making of this album, wouldn't it seem like a good idea to have some more new songs ready first? Plus, well, I'm disappointed that it undoes the possibility of Magnification serving as a terrific swan- song. Still, I definitely like the album far more than not, and I can easily see lots of Yes fans loving it. I would also say, though, that if you like this album but dislike The Buggles, you're a flaming hypocrite.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#506916) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Big name does not guarantee musical masterpiece...

An album that was made with some controversies with the legendary line-up involving Jon and Rick but it was promising the return of "Drama" that was really good album. But when I got this album I was disappointed at first spin as I expected something as dynamic as Drama which had 'Machene Messiah' and 'Tempus Fugit' at least the energy. Unfortunately this new album has nothing to do musically with Drama even though the line-up is very close with addition of new singer, Benoit. Having spun the album in its entirety for at least 5 spin, I finally conclude that the album similarity of style is closer to Asia "Phoenix" than to Yes' "Drama". I actually listened to the album reluctantly for full set and usually I stopped at fisth track because the "Bumpy Ride" is so BORING! How come Geoff Downes produces keyboard sound that is so bad, so ugly and so boring like this one? Of course I would not compare with Rick's inventive keyboard solo but at least, give me something like in Machine Messiah or at least like in "Open Your Eyes" (Asia live in Asia). But this fifth track is really a stopper. I usually skip this track because I cannot afford to have my ears went through the ordeal of this keyboard mess. From track 1 right until 4, I have to say the music is good even though there is no energy and seems like the new singer does not blend nicely with the music. His voice is OK even though less power compared to Jon and even Trevor Horn in Drama. As far as he sings with his own style, I am OK with his voice quality. But, once he tries to emulate Jon's angel voice espece\ially when he sings on the opening lyrical verse "The old prop-shaft airliners stand" (track no. 2) ...it does not sound well and it's too much effort to emulate Jon's voice. Just be yourself Mr Benoit .... Don't try to emulate Jon's ....

I might consider this album very good if there were no other prog bands released good albums as well like Pendragon "Passion", Spock's Beard "X", Beardfish "Mammoth", Pallas "XXV" or IQ "Frequency". Meaning what? I would rather love the other albums from other bands than this album by Yes which has good artwork but the music is just mediocre - nothing that really hooks me, musically. On the "Fly From Here" epic that comprises five parts there are many repeat as well. The guitar part at the beginning of "Life on a Film Set" reminds me to ELP's "The Sage". The song is not bad actually, but by the time I reach here I have lost my patient as there has been to energy of the whole album.

Overall, the good part is that they still can make good music even though it's no longer competitive compared to new offerings from new band. And I am sure when Dream Theater releases its new album by mid of September this year I don't think I will still be interested to spin this new album by Yes even though I am a big fan of Yes. Overall rating of this album is 3-. The other good part is that this album is still much better than Yes "Open Your Your Eyes" or "Big Generator". Keep on proggin' ..!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Friday, September 02, 2011

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars YES 2011. 'Fly From Here'. I actually wasn't expecting anything this worthwhile from these guys. Actually, I latched onto YES with their 'Big Generator' release back in the 80's, which was O.K. but too much on the commercial side of things. Wanting to see what all the fuss was about this band's earlier material, I acquired the brilliant 'Fragile' release. 'nuff said (it's even a frad better than 'Close to the Edge' for me). Well, 1999's 'The Ladder' release of theirs showed me they still had the chops to produce some impressive Sympho-Prog, but ultimately filling much of the album with what I consider as clever, musically technical 'Pop' music. Of course, being a BIG fan of the splendid DRAMA album (as well as the 2 memorable synth-pop BUGGLES albums), I really didn't know what to expect with this release, over 30 years on, in an over 40 year career.... I love it !!! I'm also very happy that it got a vinyl release (well, CD just doesn't cut it when it comes to Roger Dean artwork...) First and foremost, new vocalist Benoit David has a very fitting voice for this band, a blend of all - Jon Anderson, Chris Squire & Trevor Horn, as well as himself (obviously) !! And the music on the album hasn't sounded this much 'Yes' since the Drama album. Having mentioned this, some of the material here were left-overs from that 1980 period. Trevor Horn is rather low-key, only contributing extra keyboards and vocals, though his production is beautiful and full sounding, providing justice to all parties concerned. Squire is one of the best when it comes to 4 strings and he is no slouch here, and Howe's guitars stand out majestically. He seems to be having a jolly ol' time. The drums from Alan White are simple for the most part, but his sound is solid and superb, adding the right amount of 'oomph' without straying into un-necessary over-indulgence (I have no problem with flashy ego-tripping, but this music doesn't need it). Regarding the keyboards - I miss Rick Wakeman, though there's a glimpse of his son Oliver on some of the tracks (buggered if he stands out though....). Geoff Downes' style is lush, symphonic and adequate, he uses quality sounds and his skills are impeccable. Without analysing the entire album's set ( I can't add much new without boring you readers, indeed if there are any.....) but 'A sad night at the Airfield' is a magnificent, emotional piece from the get-go, and the final track 'Into The Storm' is quality YES music. The weakest moment would go to to the sympathetic ode 'Hour Of Need', but the rest is satisfying Yes-prog, even if a little lite and safe. Overall, this album means 4 stars to me.

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Posted Friday, September 16, 2011

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars What can I say ???

A new YesStudio album after a ten years hiatus. To be honest, I have boycotted their previous live tour when Jon was ejected from the band for their forty years tour. Prices were excessive and the way that the band got rid of Jon (who had some health problems) was just disgusting IMHHO.

So, "Fly From Here" is the new offering from one of the most prominent prog band of all times. Since we can forget about any Floyd, Genesis and probably Tull effort of this kind, I was quite intrigued by this new opus.

"Yes" is even performing an epic like in their glory days... The title track is not bad at all, but it can't compete with the great ones we all love & know (no need to tell you which ones, right)? The instrumental parts are quite all right as far as I am concerned. But, I have a quite mixed feeling about the new vocalist.

I had read that this guy was chosen for their previous tour because he sounded as Jon. Fair enough, but IMHHO he sounds VERY shy. It is true that this album is an attempt to go back to their roots which the previous "Magnification" not the world music combo "The Ladder" were.

What comes after the epic is not really worth mentioning as far as I am concerned. The poppish side of "Yes" during the eighties is resurging (and that's not really what I am expecting). In this respect "The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be'' is particularly revealing. Very weak even if Steve is particularly great though on this track.

The sweet & acoustic guitar "Solitaire" is a showcase for Steve and it is my favorite from this album (after the title track). A good mention for the closing number as well to be honest ("Into The Storm").

I will attend their current tour in November. Hopefully, "Yes" will only play "Fly From Here" during their current tour .

This is just an average album which I will raise to three stars for the contribution of this HUGE band to the prog music.

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Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
4 stars I wasn't expecting much about the new Yes album! Maybe because in the back of my mind it would be so much easier like that, cause in the end of the day, if the album wasn't really good, I would be prepared since the beginning. I think it's a good 'strategy' for some releases, specially the big ones like this.

Well, lucky me, I was very wrong in my first thought!

Fly From Here is a very good record! Specially on the 'Fly From Here Suite' (too bad they cut it in pieces) which represents half of the album.

Too much been said about the new singer, Benoît David, and I can understand how the old Yes fans feel about it, not seeing Jon Anderson as the band front man is weird. But you know what? Benoît did a great job, really great, not trying to copy Jon's style and he did some great melodic lines here. We have some 'gifts' on the album like a track where Chris Squire (which I'm a fan) sing the lead vocals (the track is 'The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be') and of course, as he always did, great bass lines all over the place. And we have a Steve Howe solo piece on the album ('Solitaire'), thing that didn't happen since a long long time ago.

Basically we have a very good album, a little bit of old (just the right amount of it) and a little bit of new. That's is pretty good for a band with a 40 years carreer.

I just hope they didn't took another 10 years to release a new album, cause I really would like some more Fly From Here kinda record for the next year, for example.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#574664) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Fly From Here" is the 19th full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Yes. The album was released by Frontiers Records in June 2011. "Fly From Here" sees quite a few lineup changes as original vocalist Jon Anderson has left the band because of health issues and been replaced by Canadian singer Benoît David and keyboard player Geoff Downes makes a return as Oliver Wakeman has also left the ranks.

With a new vocalist on board youīd think Yes would sound very different from the Jon Anderson led version, but thatīs not exactly true. As it turns out Benoît David has a voice thatīs very similar to the voice of Jon Anderson. Slightly less hoarse but otherwise very similar, so the music on "Fly From Here" actually sounds unmistakably like Yes. The centerpiece of the album is the six-suite 25 minutes long title track which opens the album. Itīs also the most interesting piece on the album as the rest of the album donīt quite live up to the quality of the title track. At least not if you like Yes when they are most progressive and not when they are AOR friendly.

Itīs no surprise that the musicianship is outstanding, the songwriting professional and the Trevor Horn production polished, layered and clean. "Fly From Here" is overall a very decent Yes album and allthough itīs not nearly as adventurous as their "classic" releases I think itīs one of the better post 1980 Yes albums. A 3 - 3.5 star rating is warranted.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#589884) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars As this was the first album I acquired after becoming employed again after three years of a financial strain I'd prefer not to revisit, it became a soundtrack of hope and happiness for me. With the exception of their bassist, Yes has had different people handling the various duties to create their music; to spurn this album because of some latent Jon Anderson worship would be an unfortunate mistake: Drama was an excellent album and so is this. Trevor Horn has returned, but is on the other side of the mixing console, professionally polishing the music. Newcomer Benoit David has a clear and bright tenor, fitting in with his harmonic elders, and I believe he has done a stellar job on this album. Steve Howe is less noticeable; his electric guitar work takes a mostly supportive role, and he seems to devote more attention to his acoustic responsibilities. Geoff Downes has also returned, and like Howe's, his contributions are largely for buttressing the presentation of the compositions. Alan White, one of the most consistent drummers in rock music, gives each piece exactly what it needs with respect to percussion. And the steadfast Chris Squire stands out both vocally and in the electric bass department, providing vibrant harmonies with the former and a full-bodied punch with the latter (we could call him The Flying Fish on this one). The first six tracks form the centerpiece of the album, a suite containing three superb songs that could each one of them stand alone as 21st century Yes masterpieces. Parts of Fly from Here are indeed the musical descendant of Drama, but elements of the two recent albums, especially The Ladder exist also. Yes may be standing near the end of a long and amazing musical journey, but they are standing- nay, flying.

"Fly from Here- Overture" A distant piano dreamily comes into the fore as a heavy Yes comes crash down upon the chords. The overture introduces themes found later in the suite.

"Fly from Here- Pt I- We Can Fly" Following a quiet piano introduction, the newcomer opens his mouth and utters his first series of satiny notes, so perfect against the cold and empty backdrop. As the music picks up and builds anticipation and hope, the chorus breaks into the happy energy Yes has been celebrated for for almost half a century. Squire joins David in the repetition of the verse to excellent effect. It is fitting that this lost gem from the Drama sessions was cut and polished for a new millennium.

"Fly from Here- Pt II- Sad Night At The Airfield" Howe's acoustic guitar creates a misty atmosphere with light synthesizer whispers. The music and lyrics render sorrowful, lonesome emotions. Squire performs the main theme on his bass, and Howe's distorted steel guitar rips through the thick sound, sliding to high-pitched wails, eventually joining the climactic vocals that wrap this song up perfectly. "Sad Night at the Airfield" is an incredible contrasting section of the suite.

"Fly from Here- Pt III- Madman At The Screens" Returning to the music from the overture, David's stark vocal isn't alone long. Twisting and expanding the first track, this third song contains rich vocal passages and coherent transitions. The thunderous, almost tribal rhythm makes me think of "Dreamtime" from Magnification.

"Fly from Here- Pt IV- Bumpy Ride" Yes already has a tune called "Circus of Heaven." This is "Circus from Hell." This thankfully brief instrumental transition to the suite's conclusion is a painful mix of perhaps "Five Per Cent of Nothing" and the quirkiest section from "Heart of the Sunrise." It's ludicrous and a little embarrassing to listen to.

"Fly from Here- Pt V- We Can Fly (reprise)" Fortunately, the foolishness resolves quickly into the refrain from the first song of the album- an uplifting and altogether appropriate conclusion.

"The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be" I always relish opportunities to hear Squire take on lead vocals. Here is an easygoing and primarily acoustic rock song. Following wistful verses in the Lydian mode, the chorus may as well be a leftover from Fish Out of Water- it's like a modern sister to "You by My Side."

"Life on a Film Set" Perhaps the strangest song on the album, this consists of two distinct parts. The first is a dark, acoustic guitar-led song in a minor key (with the enigmatic line: "You're riding a tiger") and could have perhaps fit on Magnification. The second part is a peppy section in a major key that focuses on the vocals and a dainty keyboard tone from Downes. While neither part is especially unpleasant, the two sections don't fit together at all. "Bumpy Ride" excepted, "Life on a Film Set" may be the weakest track.

"Hour of Need" "Hour of Need" is a lovely acoustic respite with warm vocals, helped by Howe's hoarse bass. The keyboard lead reminds me of The Ladder; indeed, this song would have been at home on that album.

"Solitaire" As he has done several times in the history of Yes, Steve Howe treats listeners to a satisfying solo acoustic guitar piece. This is his most eclectic one stylistically, moving from dusky complex minor chords to sprightly flatpicking, then from Italian-inspired rapidly plucked harmonies to indolent Spanish-style call-and-response punctuated by harmonics.

"Into the Storm" The final track is one of those occasional songs Yes indulges in that I call "Pee Wee Herman prog," because it's easy to imagine Pee Wee Herman doing his dance to it ("I'm Running" from Big Generator and some of the parts of Keystudio fall into this category). Of their Pee Wee Herman music, this is as good as it gets. The music is engaging even in its somewhat embarrassing nature. David does an incredible job singing the song's strongest line about armies of angels. Over a "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" chord progression, Howe takes a lengthy and concluding solo, and as the song comes to an end, we are reminded that we can fly from here.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#590063) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011

Review by 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

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#827021) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars For the second time in their history Jon Anderson is not in a Yes studio album, and for many fans the band is not the same without him as one of the composers and of course as their lead singer. The band has been criticized very much since Anderson had to leave the band in 2008, because this time there were serious health problems that didnīt allow Anderson to do long tours with Yes anymore, and the band chose to continue without him, replacing him first with Benoit David (who sings in this album) and later (curiously due to health reasons by Benoit David himself) by Jon Davison. Before Anderson left the band, Rick Wakeman, for health reasons too and advised by his Doctors, left the band, also because he canīt do long tours too, as Yes wants and maybe needs to do mainly for financial reasons, and he suggested his son Oliver to join Yes as their keyboard player, a thing that he did for some time. Chris Squire and Steve Howe in interviews said that they waited 4 years for Andersonīs health to fully recover, but unfortunately for Anderson before their planned 40th Anniversary tour he had serious health problems and finally he had to leave the band. I understand that they need to work to survive and that they need to have members who are healthy enough to tour. But Squire himself some 3 years ago also had health problems which forced the band to cancel some tour dates. Anyway, Yes has to continue working as a band for tours and albums, maybe more for financial reasons than anything else, in my opinion, not matter what some fans might think about it. So, the fans have the choice: to still follow Yes as a band, or not. Of course, I think that without Anderson the band is not the same anymore, the same as ABWH didnīt sound totally as Yes without Squire. While working together they sounded fully as Yes, musically and lyrically Anderson and Squire separately donīt have the same vision and sound for the band, even if some elements are common to their individual styles as musicians. "Drama" was a very good album, having elements from both The Buggles (Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn, who in 1980 respectively replaced Wakeman and Anderson ) and Yes (contributed more by Squire, Howe and White). But the Yesīsound was the dominating factor in that album, which sounds more Progressive in style. For this "Fly from Here" album, it seems that Squire and Trevor Horn thought that they still had some unfinished business from the "Drama" album days, and they "resurrected" an old song which only was played on tour by the band in 1980, called "We Can Fly From Here", composed by Horn and Downes. Initially the plan included Oliver Wakeman in the recording of the album, but maybe Squire and Horn thought that it was a better business and musical idea to bring Downes to the line-up again (with Oliver still appearing a bit in the album), which more or less was a reunion of the 1980 line-up, because Horn now acted only as a producer and songwriter contributor (althought he also contributes some keyboard and vocal things to the album), leaving the lead vocal parts to Benoit David, who is a very good singer, in my opinion, but as Davison and Horn, he doesnīt sound as Anderson enough to identify Yes as Yes only for the sound of their lead singer. The "We Can Fly From Here" song was expanded with several parts with contributions by Squire and Howe to make it a long Yes song of more of twenty minutes in length. The song sounds very well. And this song and the others in the album (2 by Howe and one by Squire) are good songs, very well played, arranged and recorded, but the predominant sound of the album is like an updated version of the sound of The Buggles combined with Squire and HoweÂīs vision and sound of how is the Yesī sound, or at least, their Yesī sound. Of course, Alan White is a very good drummer, but he only received (like Oliver Wakeman) one songwriting credit in this album. So, in conclusion, this album is very good, very professional in sound and arrangements, with a very good production work from Horn, but it is not one of my favourites from Yes, because it is not a very Yesī album at least in a full musical style.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#868960) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 30, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars A big surprise to know YES were coming back with a new album. Another surprise to see Jon Anderson not in the lineup, Benoit David instead. I thought it was not going to be that good as it really is. FLY FROM HERE really surprised me more with the excellent album they've created. The first the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1005842) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Friday, July 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Yes, Yes are back with a strong album! "Fly from here" is Yes' nineteenth studio record and was released in 2011. On this record participate Chris Squire(bass, vocals), Steve Howe (guitars, vocals), Alan White (drums), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Benoit David(lead vocals) and Trevor Horn(vocals) ... (read more)

Report this review (#975347) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, June 10, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Why all the great reviews? I am a Yes fan myself but a bad album is a bad album. This album as a whole sounds like a band that ran out of ideas-long ago. To prove my point, they pulled the title track out of the moth balls stretched it out a little and re - recorded it. Yes was back at their old ... (read more)

Report this review (#920557) | Posted by ster | Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars YES are acutely aware of their audience and the expectations that accompany the release of any new album. Even before the release of FFH, the commentary was already abuzz with hopes, and in some cases demands, that the band deliver 'Close to the Edge II'. It was never going to happen as YES are no ... (read more)

Report this review (#868870) | Posted by subassonic | Friday, November 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Despite the fact that I've given both Magnification and Fly from Here three out of five stars, one is clearly better than the other. I'm happy to report that it is the new one. For most of us, it just isn't Yes without Jon Anderson, but unfortunately medical problems aside, Jon Anderson's voice j ... (read more)

Report this review (#845538) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Friday, October 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars All right... I'm not really in the mood to go through each song, so I'm going to sum all up by giving a general review: In a dark era like this one we're living now (mainly for those who were born in it and didn't experience other decades, just like me, born in 1992) in which Justin Bieber, Miley ... (read more)

Report this review (#831209) | Posted by claugroi | Sunday, September 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Fly from here is a very nice progressive piece with enough catchy moments to keep the listener interested. I have always liked Geoff Downes keyboards better than some of the other musicians who used to play them. A very nice piece is "Bumpy Ride" by Steve Howe... it actually feels like a bumpy ... (read more)

Report this review (#827310) | Posted by Lieven Van Paemel | Monday, September 24, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Since the release of the full-length " Magnification" ten years ago and I was interested to know what my favorite band had created. Prior to the release of the album, I have downloaded it from the Internet. So, that's what impressed me: Firstly, the name of release - I think most fans of prog ... (read more)

Report this review (#805649) | Posted by yes-fan | Friday, August 17, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Heavy loads at take off... Regardless of whether you became a fan of Yes, when they pioneered progressive rock music in the early Seventies or when they reinvented themselves as successful pop-streamlined rock band in the Eighties, you have probably not been satisfied with their output over the l ... (read more)

Report this review (#640994) | Posted by Detlef Albrecht | Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Is very nice to hear again to Steve Howe at the front row on a fully new prog rock studio album, this album is classic Yes and at the top of their current skills (compositional / interpretational). I really don`t care if Anderson is in or out, Howe is in it and that is what matters, this is a ... (read more)

Report this review (#607566) | Posted by Rikki Nadir | Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think that this album is a fine addition to the Yes canon. 10 years after the sappy and cod-spiritual magnification made me realise that the band I loved had finally caved in and become nothing more than a Jon Anderson solo project, I have this to rouse me from my slumber. I love Fly from H ... (read more)

Report this review (#587005) | Posted by Skylinedrifter | Monday, December 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Yes have always been one of my favourite bands. Yes the line up changes over the years and changing musical styles have always had an impact on their albums, but even on the worst of YES albums [Open Your Eyes springs to mind] the title track was fantastic and I can still play the album right ... (read more)

Report this review (#581094) | Posted by Prog Panda | Saturday, December 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you look at the booklet you takes the nostalgia. They are there, you see, with white hair and the eyes of those left hanging by a thread: the thread of time. What I do not want to spend. A little 'short-sighted, some' ailments. But they are there to witness that everything passes, less than wha ... (read more)

Report this review (#554680) | Posted by anywhere | Saturday, October 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have been a Yes fan for many years. When I knew a new album was going to be released this year I thought it wouldn't be good. I was wrong the album is very good. Maybe is not a master piece but Fly From Here is an album to enjoy, nice surprise considering these old guys have been doing it for su ... (read more)

Report this review (#524256) | Posted by Jorge_B | Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It it was not for the "B Side", the album would have received a 4.5 stars. Firstly I do not agree with many critics, including Anderson, that the album is dated. It is not dated. Good songs are good songs. I mean in prog rock trends of today, you get to see a lot of simulation of 70's music and y ... (read more)

Report this review (#506781) | Posted by Sharier | Sunday, August 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think it's rather appropriate that Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes return once again to Yes in a moment when Jon Anderson is not part of the band. Drama once again, in so many senses. So it's Horn at the helm in production, the old firm Squire, Howe & White providing the nucleus, with Downes ret ... (read more)

Report this review (#505285) | Posted by nikow | Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Let me make it crystal clear straight away. This is an excellent Yes record! Besides ABWH (I know it's not a Yes album'.), KTTA 2 and Magnification their best album since the seventies. We cannot expect a new masterpiece in the class of Fragile, CTTE, Relayer or GFTO. How can we do that withou ... (read more)

Report this review (#491130) | Posted by YesGen | Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'm not happy about the politics, Trevor Horn will never be part of Yes in my eyes. This, however, I will put aside. 'Fly from here' is a likeable effort, playing to the strengths of Yes' style, but it doesn't challenge the genre with anything new or adventurous. Ignoring Steve Howe's guit ... (read more)

Report this review (#490758) | Posted by sussexbowler | Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ten years is a long time. Still i have been following this band since i was 11, that is since 1980...the year they released "Drama". So this, to me personally, seems like full circle, in a odd way..a very odd way. The thing is i am a HUGE fan of YES. They are my favourite band and "Relayer" and " ... (read more)

Report this review (#490745) | Posted by ScarRitual | Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Remember when Yes played progressive music? I've always loved Yes. Grew up in the 70s idolizing the band, especially Steve Howe, and even enjoyed the later Drama phase, minus Anderson, in its own way. In fact, I've bought every Yes album released and still enjoy many of them from time to time. ... (read more)

Report this review (#489768) | Posted by jeffree | Sunday, July 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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