Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 2347 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars "What happened to this song we once knew so well..."

Tales from topographic oceans is yes most ambitious work. pretentious, but not bad. After three masterpieces in a row which is a phenomenal accomplishment, yes members gathered to create this piece of work. this is the band's most slandered work from their classic era, and pretty much represents where progressive rock got its bad reputation, and took some heavy bad criticism. Yes took a turn and decided to go somewhere else, although we already faced some long pieces before from the band, yes fans were not ready for this grand work. Instead of writing some effective 8 minutes songs like before, yes tried to experiment on very long pieces. There are 4 tracks every one clocking at about 20 minutes, which makes the album an 80 minutes work. The album was originally issued as a double vinyl, I think what caused the album to be so lenthy is the fact that if the band would trim it a little bit, that would leave a whole vinyl side empty, which wasn't acceptable!. That is why every piece is smeared on a whole side, and came out looking like it is.

Yes have made a long way since 'the yes album' and that's why this album is so different from anything we might have heard before from them. There is a lot to digest, and making it through the whole piece without sweating or wandering off is extremely exhausting even for the most dedicated yes fans. The album has a different structure than before, he flows from one part to the other with no logic sense, although some parts carried out ok, it is still inconsistant and unfocused. In a lot of places this lookes like a jon anderson solo project, but being an 80 minute work you have some instrumental parts. Of course the playing and execution is amazing and maybe only yes could have pulled it off like that.

So what we have here are ideas from here to infinity, if i could shuffle between them, the logic of the pieces would not be affected, since there is no one!!. Out goes the busy fast rocking style of previous albums like 'roundabout' ,which leaves us with a more contemplative, laid back and experimental atmosphere. Like i said this is by no means a bad album, there are some great moments included, good melodies and vocals, and good instrumentals. The band really tried hard to sew all the diiferent puzzle parts to fit the big picture, but didn't have the best success doing so.

The first part is maybe the best, with a good idea streched as possible and somehow manages to come to an end sounding ok. The second part is very tiring and inconsistant, it even tires me to describe it. The third part is good, experimental, and interesting, contain some intricate rhythm and very good musicianship even though it is slow. The forth part goes back to the first part sometimes, but add something of his own, nice overall.

I would suggest to split the album in two and listen to it separately, this way you can appreciate it more and understand it better, believe me it helps. Although the material is not as good as previous records you should still own it if you are a yes fan. 3 stars

Sagichim | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this YES review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives