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Yes

90125 Vinyl Picture Disc (Record Store Day 2017)

Review by Gary Hill
The break-out album for the Rabin era of Yes has gotten a special release for Record Store Day 2017. This classy record is a great collector's item for Yes fans. While I don't think I'd recommend playing it (I'm sure it plays and sounds great, but why create wear on such a piece of art when you can play the standard edition?), I'd recommend this one to Yes fans for sure. I've reviewed the original edition of the CD, so I'll copy that review here for the sake of consistency.
 
After Yes broke up following the Drama tour, Chris Squire and Alan White (first trying to put together a group with Led Zep's Jimmy Page) hooked up with South African Trevor Rabin to begin putting together a band. They recruited original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye, and started working on material for the debut album of this new band, Cinema. As the recording process began, at the suggestion of Trevor Horn (producer and former Yes-man) the group brought in Jon Anderson to sing on the material. It was decided during this period that they should change the name to Yes. Personally, I would have liked the music better if they had left it as Cinema.
 
It may seem ridiculous, but by picking up the Yes name, the group were putting the material here in the context of the rich progressive rock history of one of the giants of the genre, and it really does not live up to that scrutiny. While, I do find that there is good music here, it certainly pales in comparison to the rich textures and complex song construction that Yes had been known for throughout their history. Granted this lineup with Rabin (a man whom one of my writers likes to call The Anti-Yes) achieved levels of mainstream success that went far beyond any that the band had previously achieved, that fame didn't last, and they had alienated many of their long-time fans. Fortunately for those of us who fall into that category, the classic Yes lineup and musical philosophy is the rule of the day now, and the damage to the fan base was not irrepairable.
 
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Side 1

             
Owner of a Lonely Heart

A quick percussion run gives way to the familiar crunch guitar line. While this cut is an understated hard rocking piece, it has been quite influential, in off all music, R & B, in its production. This is not what one would normally think of as "Yes music". It's not prog and is definitely overplayed. Still, it does have its moments.

Hold On
This bouncy cut is a pretty straightforward rocker, but the vocal arrangement is its key redeeming factor. At times this one feels more like '80's hair metal than classic Yes.
It Can Happen
One of the stronger cuts on the disc, this one seems to do a decent job of merging prog sensibilities with the Rabin pop-rock stylings. This actually feels quite a bit like later era Pink Floyd at times.
Changes
Arguably the most progressive rock oriented number on the album, a staccato speed up/slow down pattern starts this, at first sounding like a xylophone, then performed by the entire band. A balladic verse segment takes this later. Although it is a bit crunchy, this number is evocative and actually one of the best songs this lineup ever created. The staccato section returns to end it.
Side 2
           
Cinema

This instrumental, although very metallic, is one of the most "Yes-like" numbers on show here.

Leave It

The vocal arrangement is the best part of this track, and indeed that aspect alone makes this one a standout.

Our Song
I've always felt that this cut has some of the most Yesish texture of anything here, but it feels almost more like '80's era Kansas trying to sound like Yes. Still, this is a good rocker.
City of Love
This hard rocker is definitely not at all in the mode of classic Yes, but still a very interesting piece.
Hearts
This one is very much a Jon Andersonish composition. This gentle, slowly moving arena type ballad is one of the strongest points on the album. This extended piece would work well in any version of the group. The vocal arrangement is excellent. The hard rocking break really feels a lot like classic Kansas.
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