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Yes

Talk

Review by Gary Hill

After the Union tour, the Rabin (or Yes West as many dubbed it) incarnation of the band reformed to record Talk. The promo hype at the time said that it was proof positive that this lineup was capable of the more complex and powerful progressive rock creations that had been the meat and potatoes of the earlier band. Unfortunately, without the compositional skills of a Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman or even Peter Banks, it simply wasn't true. Rabin should have stuck to what he knew; more pop/rock oriented slightly left of center hard rock. He simply wasn't cut out to write the kind of material the band had made their name creating. The result has a few shining points. Interestingly "Real Love" is nothing like old Yes, but one of the best tracks on the CD. They attempt to create their own epic in the form of "Endless Dream", but the track is inconsistent, disjointed, and truly feels contrived. Of the three full Rabin era solo albums, this one, despite all the words the band put out to the contrary, is arguably the weakest. It is really only recommended for the Yes completists.

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Track by Track Review
The Calling
Based on the wall of vocals intro, this single is worlds better than "Rhythm of Love" and even features some quirky musical interludes. The bridge is anthemic, and feels just a little Beatlesish at time. The cut does feature a killer vocal arrangement. The reworked instrumental break late actually has a structure and some phrasing that remind one of classic Yes. In fact, the extended jam on this one is quite cool. The outro is also rather classy.
I Am Waiting
This one has all the textures of Trevor Rabin's solo work, mildly creative and entertaining arena rock, but certainly not worthy of the Yes moniker.
Real Love
A cool track, this has a plodding, mysterious texture on the verses, gradually building in intensity. It is a very understated and sparse arrangement here. The bridge takes on a quirky, rather jazzy texture Then the chorus emerges out of that with a killer feel to it. Rabin's trademarks are all over the resolution to the chorus, and that section is the weakest part of the track. This is very far from classic Yes, but still very unique and satisfying nonetheless.
State of Play
A screaming guitar wail, repeated several times starts this cut, then a bouncy band excursion joins. The group drops down for the verse. This is a fairly non-descript cut with the exception of a cool triumphant sounding bridge. The guitar solo here is way too generic and metallic and this cut really just doesn't make it. Other than the bridge only the vocal arrangement works at all. Fortunately that bridge does return for the later elements of the song, Anderson taking the opportunity to skate his vocals over the top. The ending metallic crunch serves as anticlimactic, though, falling flat.
Walls
The main single from the disc, this cut, co-written by Rabin Anderson and Supertramp's Roger Hodgson, is very weak, with only the chorus marginally working. This is highly forgettable number.
Where Will You Be
An intriguing rhythmic segment starts this in an almost atmospheric way. The song feels more like a Jon Anderson solo album cut than a Yes song. It's not a bad one, though, actually one of the highlights of this weak set. This song has a "train of though" sort of musical texture, feeling both world music and jazzy in its form.
Endless Dream
It has always seemed that this track was Rabin's answer to the critics who said that this incarnation of Yes didn't measure up to the progressive rock majesty and extended song structures of the classic period of the band. The sad thing is, while he created an extended piece here, he seems to have missed the point. In the first place, just extended length does not an epic make. It needs to have the power, majesty and texture al and structural arrangement to be an epic. Secondly, while most, but not all of Yes' epic pieces 'til this point felt like one indivisible unit, this track seems like a series of shorter compositions just pieced together.
Silent Spring
This first movement, an instrumental one, comes in with piano. The group join and work through the themes here is a bouncy, quickly moving progressive rock (Yes, they succeed in creating true prog her) jam that feels more like one of the more recent Yes imitators than the real deal. This is good by those standards, but definitely subpar in comparison to the band's catalog of back material.
Talk
This comes in as a dramatic and fairly effective balladic segment. It has a fair share of drama and power, but eventually resolves into a melody that has more in common with the song writing of Elton John than with real prog. This carries on, building eventually into a harder-edged jam for a short time, then dropping to a wah guitar section that is pretty cheesy. This moves into an alternative pop sounding movement for a short time, then the more metallic guitar theme returns to take the group to a new melodic section. This movement does manage to capture the spirit of classic Yes, feeling very joyous and powerful. It doesn't last for long, though, the group drops it to an atmospheric sort of section that moves through a few changes, but feels too directionless. Themes from the opening segment begin to emerge in the background. With a bit of tension building it feels as if the group are about to burst back for the into the opening prog fury again, eventually they do. This lasts only a short time, though, before resolving into an effective, if plodding verse segment. It's difficult to judge for certain where the final segment, entitled "Endless Dream" begins, but I think that it's in the midst of this verse.
Endless Dream
A modern prog mode, feeling quite triumphant, takes the composition in a satisfying way. The intensity gradually builds as this carries forward. After moving through this section for a time a crescendo brings back more atmospheric sounds that lead to a mellow balladic slow verse. A few lines of melody from earlier songs on the album show up here. The finally drop this down to a wholly unsatisfying conclusion.
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