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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2327 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Rating: 3 / 5

Yes's 1973 monster, TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS is the most divisive album in the bands four decade history, and is hard to review. Though roundly trashed by critics, TALES managed to become a huge hit for Yes. Some fans immediately hated it, while others thought it was the equivalent of a new bible. TALES represents Yes at their most indulgent and pretentious. This album, along with ELP's WORKS (1977) are generally considered the greatest examples of the excesses of the Progressive Rock movement. It consists of four side long suites, and conceptually revolves around spiritual, Shastric [eastern religious] scriptures. Wow...the 1970's. Anyway, this concept was put forth by Jon Anderson (Vocals) and Steve Howe (Guitar), and the band went along. Anderson and Howe wrote all the material here, and clearly got taken away. The lyrics are as obscure and nonsensical as they have ever been, and the music isn't much easier to follow. Yes definitely tried very hard to get four sides of music ready, but fall short. Large stretches of this album are boring, intermingled with occasional, beautiful passages. As always with Yes, the playing is exceptional. Newcomer Alan White showed he could fill in for drummer Bill Bruford (recently departed for King Crimson) on the live YESSONGS (1972), and does well here. Since Howe composed the majority of the material, Wakeman's keyboards are pushed to the sidelines. In fact, Rick Wakeman detested this album so much he left the band in 1973 before the tour, and has blasted it in interviews ever since. The best song is probably Ritual, which can also be found on 1980's live YESSHOWS. This is definitely not the album for beginners to start with, and out of Yes's six albums from 1971-1977, this is the weakest. 3 stars, due to occasional moments of brilliance (after all this is Yes), but overall, this is an album for diehards. 1974's next offering from Yes, RELAYER, is far superior.

NetsNJFan | 3/5 |


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