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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover

RELAYER

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3002 ratings

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weaselnaut
4 stars This has to be one of my all time favorite rock albums. Listening to it is like a journey, and I must admit, I don't think I've ever heard anything quite like it, even in Yes's catalog.

If the only Yes you're familiar with is "Roundabout", BEWARE as this may be a little WEIRD for you, especially on the first go around. RELAYER is composed of sprawling soundscapes continuing in the fashion of Close To The Edge and Tales From Topographic Oceans. It is unique within Yes's catalog in that it is the only Yes album to feature Patrick Moraz on keyboards, briefly replacing Rick Wakeman. That didn't change the the band's signature sound much from what I can hear, but Relayer is also musically distinct from it's immediate musical predecesors: The pieces are more densely textured than on CTTE, and rock harder and faster than most of TFTO.

The 22 minute opener "The Gates of Delirium" is a good example of this, careening between structured more melodic sections of jazzy rock and frighteningly chaotic pieces of avant-noise, full of odd synth blurps and hair-curling guitar blasts from Steve Howe, before the drums come back in. This is followed by a softer, floaty keyboard solo before segueing into the poignant "Soon". The lyrics describe the journey of a soldier at war, at the beginning he talks as if he truly believes the wartime propaganda ("destroy for peace! etc.") Then at the end, after witnessing the massacres and destruction, he is disillusioned with the war, but hopes that "soon", peace will be restored.

"Sound Chaser" is a 9 minute slab of tumultuous jamming, not as memorable as "Gates", but there is some nice crunchy Zeppelin-esque guitar here, and of course the CHA CHA CHAs (which DO get kind of annoying I'll admit). In the wake of all this hullaballoo, the shimmering ballad "To Be Over" is a welcome gust of fresh air and a perfect way to close the album. Also contains some of Yes's most poetic lyrics, and the keyboard work gives this track an almost sacred feel.

All that being said, this is a very exciting and adventurous album. Relayer is not for everyone, but I highly recommend it for anyone interested in Yes or prog rock in general. Just don't expect "Roundabout".

| 4/5 |

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