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Yes - Fly From Here CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.42 | 1076 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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 just isn't what it was. You could sense it on Magnification, but it was much more evident on the Live from Montreux DVD from a couple of years later. Benoit David, lead singer of Mystery and a Canadian (Woop!), has done as good a job as you could hope for filling in on the album and more than likely exceeds Jon Anderson as he was on Magnification.

I doubt I'm alone in the sentiment, but I think the absence which is more acutely felt in the case of Fly from Here is Rick Wakeman. Geoffrey Downes just doesn't have the personality of Rick, or even Patrick Moraz who ably filled in on Relayer. The keyboards tend to be flat and drawn in the style of new wave rather than the intricacy demanded of symphonic prog. Perhaps it isn't all him though, the album, like Magnification, bears the marks of 80s overproduction which has become the hallmark of post core-era Yes regardless of membership. The genesis of the album was in fact in the minds of producer/collaborator Trevor Horn and Downes and started life prior to their initial involvement with the band in the early 80s rather than any of the main members of the band.

That said, it would sound petty and hypocritical of me to continue to talk down Downes and Horn's contributions, as the main suite for all its faults and quirkiness is one of the most interesting things I've heard in a while. It does suffer a bit from bookending, where the beginning and end are the most complete and powerful parts of the work. Besides, the bad parts can't possibly be all their fault, because some of the dryer sections bear an eerie familiarity to the utterly disappointing collaboration between Yes bassist Chris Squire and ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Squackett.

Pleasantly enough, the suite is not the only good track on the album. The succeeding tracks are about 50/50 hit and miss. The acoustic Hour of Need and Solitaire are both being quite good. The progressive power-pop of Into the Storm and Life On a Film Set, being a mixed bag of forced over complexity and striking simplicity are so-so. Don't believe that's possible, listen to Life On a Film Set and see how many times Benoit says "riding a tiger." Believe me, it's no "I get up, I get down."

All in all, I'm left in a very similar position to where I was when I heard Rush's 2007 comeback album Snakes and Arrows, generally satisfied and mostly optimistic. This is a lot to like here, you have to wade a bit, but it's there. More importantly, the band shows some real creativity and a serious desire for Yes to be a going concern and not simply a touring legacy act. For that, I say the three out of five and the bump in preference over the down-swinging Magnification are deserved. It's just a shame that M. David has apparently suffered a similar condition to Mr. Anderson and was forced to leave the band for his health. It would have been nice to see what some time and chemistry could have done for any potential future releases.

R-A-N-M-A | 3/5 |


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