also by Yes:
This is one of the seminal prog rock albums of the 70s and definitely the best Yes album. In its short 40-minute package it encompasses nearly everything that is best about the symphonic rock genre. The band (Anderson, Howe, Squire, Bruford and Wakeman) were at the height of their creativity, performing tight, virtuosic rock, ebbing and flowing between grand symphonic climaxes.
The three pieces are perfectly proportioned, complementing each other well, without being dominated by bloat or ego. The eighteen-minute title track, starting with a futuristic-sounding ambient crescendo, is based around a jaunty song linked by some fantastically complex and energetic band playing. It reaches its climax with one of the most atmospheric passages in all of prog rock, "I Get Up, I Get Down", in which Wakeman's Mellotron and church organ give a sweeping backdrop to Anderson's high tenor and the backing vocal harmonies. "And You and I" is another perfectly composed piece, ranging from the minimalist steel guitar of the introduction, through a strumming, folky song towards a symphonic, Mellotron-laden climax. "Siberian Khatru" provides a great upbeat conclusion with a driving full-band workout, floating ever upwards towards the finish.
If there is a weak point it has to be Jon Anderson's lyrics. The vague cosmic mish-mash of Eastern spirituality and philosophy makes sense to few people, and dates the album firmly in the hippy era. Having said that, Anderson has been writing lyrics like that well into the 90's!
November 24, 2003