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CONSPIRACY

Conspiracy

Crossover Prog


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Conspiracy Conspiracy album cover
3.15 | 28 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Days Of Wonder (4:59)
2. Light In My Life (4:01)
3. Violet Purple Rose (4:58)
4. No Rhyme (4:54)
5. Lonesome Trail (6:36)
6. The More We Live (4:46)
7. Love Conquers All (4:51)
8. You're The Reason (5:08)
9. Watching The World (5:20)
10. Red Light Ahead (6:46)

Total time 52:19

Bonus tracks on 2000 release:
11. Wish I Knew (4:57)
12. Man on the Moon (3:32)
13. Say Goodbye (6:07)

Bonus tracks on 2005 re-release:
11. The Big Peace (15:32)
12. Comfortably Numb (6:53)

Line-up / Musicians

- Billy Sherwood / vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums, percussion, mixing
- Chris Squire / vocals, bass, acoustic guitar (10)

With:
- Steve Stevens / guitar (3)
- Jimi Haun / guitar solo (7)
- Alan White / keyboards (5), drums (5,7)
- Jay Schellen / drums (1,8,9), tom tom (4)
- Mark T. Williams / drums (2)
- Michael Bland / drums (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Chuck Wright

CD Eagle Records ‎- EAGCD 126 (2000, Europe) With 3 bonus tracks
CD Purple Pyramid ‎- CLP 1479-2 (2005, US) With 2 bonus tracks, new cover art

Thanks to gimsom for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CONSPIRACY Conspiracy ratings distribution


3.15
(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (39%)
39%
Collectors/fans only (11%)
11%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

CONSPIRACY Conspiracy reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Days of wonder

Conspiracy is a duo consisting of Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood. Chris and Billy first met in the 1980's and quickly became friends. Sherwood was first considered for the position as the new lead vocalist of Yes to replace Jon Anderson (when the latter was busy with Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe), but Billy wanted nothing of it. Sherwood's first contribution to a Yes album was the song The More We Live - Let Go, a song co-written with Squire. This song first appeared on Union in 1991 and was re-recorded for this first Conspiracy album. Another Yes song that the two wrote together and that is recreated here is Love Conquers All which originally came out on the box set Yesyears also in 1991.

In 1995 Squire guested on the second album by Sherwood's band World Trade, providing bass and backing vocals to a couple of songs. On some editions of the Conspiracy debut one of the songs from that World Trade album (Say Goodbye) on which Squire sings is included as a bonus track. The drummer of World Trade, Jay Schellen is also the drummer on most of the tracks of Conspiracy, even though Alan White plays on a few tracks.

After having toured with Yes as an extra guitarist in support of Talk, Sherwood was promoted to full member of the band for the Open Your Eyes album in 1997. A couple of songs from that unfairly maligned Yes album originated in the Squire/Sherwood song-writing partnership. Billy remained with Yes until 2000 and recorded the excellent The Ladder with them in 1999 as well as the fantastic live album/video House Of Yes - Live At The House Of Blues. After Billy left Yes he stayed in contact with Chris and this resulted in the continuation of their musical collaboration under the name Conspiracy. Or, actually, this first album of theirs was released under their full names and the album title is Conspiracy.

With the exception of the aforementioned Yes songs, the material here is new. The unmistakeable vocals of Chris Squire blend very well with those of Billy Sherwood, and together with Squire's unique bass guitar playing many Yes-like features are present. The songs are melodic and the production is good, but this album cannot measure up to the music of Yes. Neither does it compare well with Billy Sherwood's solo career.

The bonus tracks vary depending of the edition. My CD comes in a digi-pack with different cover art and features two bonus tracks. The first of these is The Big Peace which is the title track from Billy Sherwood's magnificent first solo album released in 1999. This amazing 15 minute epic simply outshines the Conspiracy material and I cannot stress enough how much better Sherwood's solo albums are compared to Conspiracy. The other bonus track is a cover of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb.

Review by Gerinski
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It was quite surprising that an album by Chris Squire had only 2 reviews in PA 10 years after its release, so here comes one more.

As for the rating, we are faced with the problem of having to rate in a prog site an album which is not meant to be a prog album. Judged as prog this would hardly deserve 1 or 2 stars, but it would be unfair to give it a rating suggesting that it is crap, because it is not. It is simply not meant to be a prog album, it is a crossover pop album and as that it's a pretty decent one. Squire himself made it clear that people should not take this album as a follower to "Fish Out of Water". I find it justified to give a low rating to albums such as Yes "Open Your Eyes" because after all Yes is supposed to be a prog band, but released as a side project and free from the Yes name things can take on a different perspective. At least this is quality pop-rock which does not insult the intelligence of the listener, and in the 21st century this is already quite something. So I prefer to give the necessary warning in the review and give it at least a dignifying 3 stars.

This is a collection of songs which Squire and Sherwood wrote together between '89 and '96. According to Squire the share of contribution by each was around a fair 50/50. Some are songs they played during a '92 tour as The Chris Squire Experiment. We have also the original versions of "The More We Live" and "Love Conquers All" which would appear in Yes "Union" and "YesYears" respectively after getting some overdubs by Anderson, Rabin, Howe and White. We also get a song ("Violet Purple Rose", one of the best) which Squire developed during some sessions with guitarist Steve Stevens (from Billy Idol and also the excellent trio project Bozzio Levin Stevens) and Prince drummer Michael Bland.

Alan White plays the drums in 2 tracks "Lonesome Trail" and "Love Conquers All", while other drums were played by World Trade (Sherwood's other band) drummers, by Sherwood himself and some are just drum machines. There is also a small guitar contribution by Jimmy Haun, the guy who was requested by Arista to replace significant part of Howe's original playing in "Union", for the rest Sherwood plays nearly all the keyboards and guitars, and Squire thinks that even some of the bass was actually recorded by Sherwood (in return he plays some acoustic guitar). Given the disparity of times and musicians involved in the recording of the tracks, the whole thing sounds quite consistent.

Around '96 enough material was ready to be released with the album title Chemistry, but then Sherwood was called into Yes and the project was put on hold and 2 of its songs were reworked for the Yes "Open Your Eyes" album (curiously enough, the worst 2: "Wish I Knew" which would become "Open Your Eyes" and the even more disposable "Man in the Moon"). Finally the Squire/Sherwood album came out in 2000 renamed as Conspiracy, name which eventually they would retain as band name. The 2 tracks which had been used for "Open Your Eyes" (in their original versions) plus another one "Say Goodbye" which Sherwood had used for the World Trade '95 album "Euphoria" were also included but as "hidden tracks" at the end, meaning that they are not mentioned in the tracklist on the sleeve. Which is alright because they are the worst 3 tracks in the album anyway.

The style is basically the same as the pop side of Yes we find in albums like "Open Your Eyes" or "The Ladder", quality pop-rock with a few slight influences from prog (for what matters, quite similar to the style of Trevor Rabin songs or Robert Berry's).

Squire is not blessed with a great voice as lead singer but he more than compensates by his notorious gift for building great vocal harmonies. And Sherwood's voice is not very distinctive but it matches very well with Squire's and at times it's not too different from a mix of Anderson and Rabin, so as a result the multi-layered vocals provide an unmistakable Yes feel and they are one of the strongest points in the album. Squire does not give us a master class in bass playing technique here but his distinctive fat and powerful bass sound is still present throughout. Sherwood's performance is as we know him, not outstanding in anything but good enough at everything.

As long as you can take your proghead hat off before listening, this is a fine album.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Sherwood, Squire and White (et al)

For whatever reason, "Conspiracy" is one of the lesser known albums from the Yes family. The album was initially credited to Billy Sherwood and Chris Squire, the collective name "Conspiracy" only later being adopted by the pair from the album's title. Here they are joined by Alan White on a couple of tracks to form an ELP like Supergroup.

Sherwood's contribution to the Yes legacy is of course somewhat controversial, with many fans feeling he pulled the band away from their prog roots into inappropriately commercial territories. Others will argue that he was a major factor in the band's survival, guiding them towards a viable path musically and financially. Here, the sound is understandably closer to that of albums such as "Open your eyes" and "Big generator" than "Close to the edge", but the presence of Squire on bass and lead vocals means that there is still a strong Yes flavour to the album.

The songs here were gathered together over an extended period, some originating in Squire's 1992 venture "The Chris Squire Experiment". That band was due to release an album called "Chemistry", but when two tracks were used on "Open your eyes", the project was put on a back burner. Some of the other songs here made the transition to become full Yes songs, while those which were used in one form or another on "Open your eyes" are added to the end of this album as hidden additions.

Squire and Sherwood share vocal and songwriting duties fairly evenly on the album, although it is Squire's distinctive tones which tend to characterise the songs. Pretty much all of the tracks have the sound of potential singles in an "Owner of a lonely heart" sort of way, although none did find success in that field.

One track, "Violet Purple Rose" was taken from a separate session when Chris Squire was joined by Steve Stevens and Michael Bland. Billy Sherwood later overdubbed his contribution to this track. This particular song is probably the most progressive on the album, while still retaining the strong melodic base which is a feature of every track here. "Lonesome trail" is another strong track with prog credentials. The song, which will be familiar to those who have investigated the "Yes friends and family" compilations, has one of the strongest hooks on the album.

Overall, a highly enjoyable album which will please those who approve of the Sherwood era Yes albums. The album will undoubtedly be castigated by some for its ease of access, but you'll get no complaints from me.

On my version, the bonus tracks are grouped together as a 15 minute medley entitled "The big peace". There is also a fine version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably numb", presumably taken from the Pink Floyd tribute album Re-Building The Wall - A Tribute To Pink Floyd".

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I really wanted to like this album more than I do. From the moment that Open Your Eyes was released, one of the most common points of criticism regarding it was that some of the album's material, due to the tight time constraints in recording, had come from a Squire/Sherwood side-project called Conspiracy. Of course, the reliance of OYE on Conspiracy material was overstated (Yes did raid an unfinished Conspiracy album, tentatively called Chemistry, for material, but only on two tracks, "Open Your Eyes" and "Man in the Moon"), but Sherwood had definitely had definitely taken on a prominent songwriting role during those sessions, and as somebody who had always liked Open Your Eyes (maybe my enthusiasm for it eventually fell to 85% of its original level, but it never went away), I found myself intrigued at the idea of hearing more of his material. When I eventually bought Conspiracy, which collected much of the material Squire and Sherwood had worked on together during the previous decade (in addition to the OYE tracks, the album also includes "The More We Live - Let Go" from Union and "Love Conquers All," which had made it onto YesYears, as well as nine additional tracks), I figured that, at worst, I would be getting a decent collection of pop-prog/prog-pop, and that I'd like it a little more than most Yes fans did. On my first couple of listens, I didn't think the album was that great, but it didn't seem especially offensive either, and while the various songs weren't really grabbing me, it seemed to me that they at least had the potential to do so with a handful of additional listens.

Well, a handful of additional listens later, most of this material has still refused to grab me, and there came a point where I just had to accept that this is a thoroughly mediocre album, and nearly a bad one. I really like the alternate versions of "The More We Live - Let Go" and "Open Your Eyes" (here called "Wish I Knew"); the problem is that, aside from the mildly nice feelings I have towards the opening "Days of Wonder" (where Chris' vocals in the climactic line of "These are the days / the days of wonder" are a highlight), and the nice feelings I have towards "Lonesome Trail" (which does a better job than many other tracks in weaving a decent synth part in with the guitars) these are the only tracks on the album I like. It definitely doesn't help that, while two of the old Yes tracks are great inclusions, the other two were among the worst songs ever released under the Yes moniker, and they definitely don't improve here ("Man in the Moon" is still based around a cheesy descending synth riff and with the least-deserved strutting swagger a song could have, while the arena-rock ballad "Love Conquers All" still sounds like a reject from Can't Look Away). The remaining tracks, for whatever slight variations there might be in tempo or mood, are all taken from a single mold, and that mold does not make me happy in the least. The band is trying its best to have feet in both the prog world and in the pop world, but the pop aspects are undermined by a continual disregard for memorable choruses or interesting riffs (there's nothing as remotely crisp or driving as some of the better OYE moments; "Wonderlove," for instance, would be the best of the remaining tracks BY A MILE), and the prog aspects are undermined by the general lack of interesting instrumental parts (Sherwood is a decent enough guitarist but he doesn't demonstrate enough personality here to merit lead status). Plus, well, Squire and Sherwood are pretty dull as primary vocalists; I'm not sure if these songs would be much better with Anderson on lead, but having those two relegated to supporting status would be of great benefit in and of itself.

In retrospect, I suppose it's my own fault for coming into this album with any kind of expectations of decent quality, but I really thought that there was a chance that Sherwood hadn't been given a fair shake and that this side project might be secretly ok at worst. Alas, it wasn't to be, and it's the rare case of an album that just kept getting worse the more I listened to it. Now that Sherwood's more-or-less become a footnote in Yes' history, I honestly don't know the target audience for this, and I don't see why anybody other than an obsessive like myself would want to spend time listening to this.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is happy pop music, not so progressive. Anyway I like to listen, cause there´s enough hook in every piece, enough complicated and defenitely not too boring songs. I´m Yes fan and I like to listen Chris´s singing very much. Also his vocal arrangements works always well. Billy Sherwood got ... (read more)

Report this review (#58463) | Posted by | Monday, November 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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