also by Yes:
The most slickly-produced and the last mainly proggy album Yes made in the 70's. It's mostly good stuff, but disappointingly short at under 40 minutes. Rick Wakeman was brought back on keyboards, and as a result it's one of their most keyboard-heavy. The initial title track could have been a good energetic blues-rocker, but for the arrangement. Steve Howe and Wakeman try to out-do each other in bashing us over the head with their slide guitar and Moog solos, and it ends up as a mess. Fortunately this is cleaned up by the ethereal ballad "Turn Of The Century". This may be too syrupy for some, but it sweeps beautifully between refined acoustic guitar echoing and cathedral-like climaxes.
On "Parallels", where one would expect a rhythm guitar, we have Wakeman crunching a church organ. Nothing special, but this rocker is listenable. "Wonderous Stories" is a welcome return to the interesting folky prog-pop they did so well in their earlier days, especially on "The Yes Album". It's pleasingly over-decorated by Wakeman's Moog. The showcase extended track "Awaken" is a good example of ornately-produced symphonic prog, although it's not perfect. The general prettiness is its strength rather than the quality of the tunes or structure. Its most memorable section is a quieter bit with an increasingly-stretched rising theme.
December 5, 2003