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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover

RELAYER

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3001 ratings

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White Shadow
4 stars Having already lost Bill Bruford to Robert Fripp in 1972, Yes was forced to press on with another key loss in their lineup. This time it's the highly popular Rick Wakeman who splits from the band. Filling in his Sideshow Bob-sized shoes is Patrick Moraz, who actually makes you forget the absence of Wakeman at many points. Moraz takes a much different approach to playing keys, but end result is one of Yes' most original and satisfying albums.

Appearing on the album are three songs, with the focus being on the mammoth "Gates of Delirium". Supposedly inspired by "War and Peace", the twenty two minute epic could have easily strayed down the wrong paths that so plagued "Tales". Instead, the band delivered a very strong song, both musically AND lyrically (which is often a weakness with Yes). The song changes just enough to remain interesting throughout. There are a lot of instrumental passages, often filled with chaos (these are enhanced by Alan White, who takes the Jamie Muir approach to percussion by drumming on scrapped car parts), but these sections seems to serve a purpose here, where they just seem to take up space on the previous album. The listener glides from section to section as intensity builds and then, just as subtly as it grows, it drops off and floats to the ending section, a beautiful piece entitled "Soon". With this, Yes proves their (often unexplored) ability to put emotion into their music, which is usually mainly cerebral.

"Sound Chaser" is perhaps the most unique song recorded by Yes. It highlights Moraz's delicious talents and penchant for jazz and fusion. Unfortunately, it suffers from a weak middle section. The closing song, "To Be Over" is good enough, but isn't consistent as a whole and also loses strength along the way before ending on a good note.

Final Analysis: Despite missing two crucial members of it's most popular lineups, Yes bounces back with a highlight in their long history. It's a shame this would be it for Yes' collaboration with Patrick Moraz, who would in turn leave and be replaced by a returning Wakeman.

Rating: Four Stars.

White Shadow | 4/5 |

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