also by Yes:
After the turgid "Tales from Topographic Oceans" Yes could only get more tasteful. However "Relayer" ended up being the most opaque and inaccessible of all their albums. A few years ago I found most of it barely listenable, but having listened to much more jazz since then, I have different ears for this. Now it seems much more palatable than the stodgy "Tales". The avant-garde improvisation style hinted at in "Tales" is more fully fleshed out here. New keyboardist Patrick Moraz helped to guide the album's heavy fusion sound. His lines blend subtly into the mix, often coupling nicely with Steve Howe's heavily effect-laden guitar leads.
"The Gates of Delirium" is probably too long and incoherent, but has great band playing and a lot of interesting musical moments. Its last four minutes is practically a separate song - "Soon". This is one of Yes's finest ethereal ballads, coloured distinctively by Howe's backwards-guitar sound. The chaotic "Sound Chaser" plunges straight into a Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis style jam, with an unrestrained solo from Steve Howe. "To Be Over" fills the role of the traditional symphonic climax, but with enough jazzy flights that it fits perfectly with the rest of the album.
Probably not many people's bag, but recommended if you like the more jazzy, experimental side of prog rock.
December 4, 2003