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Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2354 ratings

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3 stars I wonder if the band enjoyed this album at all. I feel like they just said to themselves "right, we are a progressive rock band, lets make four twenty minute songs". So they went and made a double album, with each song taking up an album side in a very obligatory manner. It's as though they have some obligation to make songs go 20 minutes, the song times were probably devised before the songs were even written!

A little comparison, that very same year Genesis released a double album also, "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", and guess what, "Lamb" is a full thirteen minutes longer than "Topographic Oceans". Hard to believe isn't it? This just feels a laborious 80 minutes and "Lamb" feels at least half it's running time.

Now that is all a bit unfair, I mean this is very beautiful music, very well done. The first song is just excellent, the second song is excellent from about 9 minutes onwards, very folky. I've read a lot of bad things about "The ancient giants under the sun" but this song is almost as good as the album opener, with some really inspiring lead guitar. The album closer, "Ritual", also has a lot of good instrumental sections. The only real weak point is that sometimes Anderson's vocals get buried in the mix, or get a bit rushed but compared with a lot of other bands at the time, this is not too bad. That said the production isn't very lively, though passable.

This album is still fairly accomplished, with some absolutely gorgeous moments of music. They throw in a lot of space-y sounds, some Sitar and some well realised guitar and synth tones. But the album kind of lacks an enthusiastic flair. A solid three out of five. By the way highly accessible for someone with patience, even if they aren't familiar with prog.

Brendan | 3/5 |


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