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Anderson Bruford Wakeman  Howe - Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe CD (album) cover

ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE

Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe

 

Symphonic Prog

3.21 | 328 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars If we took a time travel to 1989 just we would find a peculiar situation, YES good name had been butchered by Rabin, Squire and company with two less than mediocre albums, while four men with enough credentials to be the real YES had to use their own names (due to contractual clauses) to play the music they wrote and new songs that even when not in the level of the original masterpieces of the legendary band, were closer to the roots of YES at the end of a weak decade for Symphonic Prog. Two bands with nothing in common except a wild card named Jon Anderson (In the official albums) but two opposite perspectives of music acting almost simultaneously.

Now lets return to the 21st Century and talk about Anderson Bruford Wakeman & Howe (call them ABWH, Yes East or however you want): I won't dare to say they released a great album but their music is alive and gave hope to many of us who were ready to burn the posters in our rooms after listening "Big Generator".

The album starts with Themes a nice keyboard intro announces a explosion of sounds, maybe a bit confusing and lack of order but pleasant for the ear, one can only ask how Jon Anderson manages to keep that soft voice as the decades pass and even gets more acute. Incredibly the man that gives coherence to the song is one who never played in YES, Tony Levin with his bass is the spine of the track, a few explosions of Wakeman that reminds us of old days but nothing else, still is a breeze of fresh air after several years.

Fist of Fire is how I imagine YES would had sounded in the 80's if Rabin would had never joined, strong and solid but still not brilliant, Steve Howe does a very nice job and Wakeman shows us why he's c0onsiderd the keyboard wizard, but still the coherence is weak, almost as if they had taken the name "ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMNAN & HOWE" too seriously and they were trying to make individual performances instead of a team work.

Brother of Mine is the first track that sounds absolutely coherent, everything is in it's place, Jon's voice is less annoying and the duet Levin - Bruford is absolutely perfect, even Tony in the backing vocals make us forget Chris Squire is not there, very good track with some radical changes and strong melody, 10:19 minutes of good music.

Birthright starts with a nice acoustic guitar intro by Steve Howe but sadly the song never leaves the floor, seems as an introduction never developed only the very short Howe sections save the song from mediocrity, but then something different, Wakeman dresses like Vangelis and makes a very unusual keyboard section perfectly supported by Bill Bruford, just when I was ready to throw the towel on this track, the change made me remember I was before five musical talents, who are able to take a rabbit from the hat at any moment.

The Meeting is a nostalgic piano and vocal based ballad, works well as a reliever, somehow makes me remember more of Rick's solo career in the 80's rather than in Yes, very cute but don't expect more.

Quartet is another good team work in which the band shows their desire to return to the old days, very close to the "Tormato" era but without the cheese, the most interesting feature is how Anderson manages to include fragments of lyrics and names of YES songs, seems like a scream for a reunion and to let the old days come back. Good but not outstanding track.

Tekbois is a terrible song, this guys should had known before recording this tracks that four British classically trained musicians were not placed in this planet to play Caribbean music, they simply don't have the beat and flavor, normally I press the skip button.

Order of the Universe is the song that convinced me to buy the album after watching the video of the making in a friend's house, now we are before a classic YES song, every single member of the band is perfect, the vocal work (In which even Wakeman and Howe participate according o the video) is very solid and it leads to one of Jon's finest moments, 9:02 minutes of solid music.

The album ends with Let's Pretend, another nostalgic ballad that seems as a cry for a reunion, very soft and acoustic, after "Order of the Universe" is the best election for a closer and leaves the door open for a new YES adventure with two simple words "Do again".

Not much more to say about ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE a good YES album (I still consider them as the real deal) but not even close to masterpieces as "Close to the Edge" or even "The Yes Album"

Four stars would be OK for a release that is over the average of the 80's but too much for an album that is bellow the possibilities of the five monsters that formed part of this project (Six if we count Milton Mc'Donald) so I will have to rate it with three solid stars that would be 3.5. if this was possible.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |

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