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Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe - Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe CD (album) cover


Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe


Symphonic Prog

3.22 | 357 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is essentially a modern Yes album without a particularly strong or sharp bass presence. In 1989, John Anderson united with Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and Bill Bruford to create this album and a subsequent tour thereafter. To fill in the bassist role on the album was (by Bruford's suggestion) Tony Levin, which isn't a bad choice at all to replace Chris Squire. This album, while showing that these men could still create engaging progressive music, was marred unfortunately by bland keyboard tones and some over the top and cliched performances. I don't even really have a problem with Bruford's electric drums on this album (although he did indeed sound better on an acoustic kit). Fans of Yes will surely like this album, as it has all the flare and instrumental prowess as any Yes album, but the modern edge of it makes it new and exciting.

The album opens with Themes, a multi part track that has some great keyboards from Wakeman and a fun walking stick line from Levin. From the get go, you'll notice that Anderson's lyrics aren't as cryptic and dense as his past progressive efforts with yes and his voice has really aged well. Although you'll also hear the over the top keyboard sound that plagues this album as well on this track. Fist of Fire is a more atmopsheric piece with some dated keyboards from Wakeman (which represent trumpets) and some precision drumming from Bruford. Brother of Mine is my favorite track on the album. It has some sincere vocals from Anderson, some great guitar work from Howe, and many complex vocal sections that really bring back memories of the old Yes. The final minutes of the track is arguably the best part of the album. Birthright has some interesting acoustic work from Howe and some underlying atmopsheric synthesizers from Wakeman, and it evolves into a bombastic and grandiose composition with great riffing from Howe throughout the entire thing as well as some overly played keyboards from Wakeman.

The Meeting is a piano/vocal duet between Wakeman and Anderson. It's one of Wakeman's more emotional and melodic performances on the album and it overall comes out very well. Quartet suffers from dated and somewhat contrived keyboards, and yet has some smooth guitar and some wicked soloing from Howe, kind of a let down, really. Teakbois is probably the most ridiculous and weakest track on the album. All it is is a contrived and uninspired reggae song complete with cheesy vocals and percussion, a waste of space if you ask me. Order of the Universe has some solid bass from Levin as well as some great guitar fills from Howe and some solid harmony vocals and lead vocals. Pretty good epic, not bad at all. The album ends with Let's Pretend, a somber and acoustic ballad with some interesting chord progressions and some nice keyboard work, as well as some stellar acoustic guitar work from Howe. It ends the album on a lighter note and really suits the atmosphere.

In the end, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, a one off experiment that could have easily been mistaken as a Yes album, only they couldn't use the name Yes, and there's no Chris Squire. My main problem with this album lies in the keyboard sound, which not only sounds cheesy, but rather dated as well. Still, though, Fans of Yes should like this album as it has 4 classic members of the band and they do still have a thing or two to say in the music. 3.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |


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