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Yes - Close To The Edge CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.66 | 4367 ratings

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5 stars Sometimes perfect happens. Not the flawless kind-- after all, Yes was still a rock band. But their 1972 release was beyond the call of duty. In hindsight perhaps it could be seen coming: an inevitable culmination of the greatness heard on the four previous albums, reaching a point of no return and getting literally, dangerously, close to the edge.

But even with all the fantastic theme development, unquenchable thirst for invention, and physical prowess, Close to the Edge was, at heart, a record of three great songs. In fact had these five wanted to be a group of tunesmiths popping out 2 minute ditties praising lovelorn walks on the beach, they would've been the biggest act of their time (which of course they briefly were ). Howe, Squire, Anderson, Bruford and Wakeman wanted to show what was possible, not just plausible. And in some cases, what was impossible.

After the obligatory onset of windchimes and birds, the room explodes with the sounds of one glorious rock band, accented periodically by flashes of delicious discordance. Chris Squire's elastic hands all over the Ric partnered with Steve Howe's chameleon guitars; Wakeman's huge keys never more valuable; percussion math-geek Bill Bruford doing precisely what is required, and Jon Anderson - the real hero here - providing the ideal vocal complement. The quintet's understanding of musical form was only rivaled on their next in '73, and shows their uncanny ability to be both a unified family of equals and a platform for individual achievement. The mix is impeccable, too.

'And You and I' is exquisite, barely feeling like ten minutes as Howe's sexy acoustic vibrates through you, Squire's reassuring thumps, Anderson's comforting fairytale, a touch of honkytonk, Rick Wakeman's astral visions, and the metric delights of 'Siberian Khatru' close a piece of work still unmatched by anyone on record.

My ears continue to gape for this LP's always rewarding gifts, and yours should too. Unimprovable, and more than essential.

Atavachron | 5/5 |


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