Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Towards Utopia

Review by Gary Hill

Before Steve Howe joined Yes he had played in a number of bands. Bodast was one of those groups. They recorded songs an album in the 1960s that has been released in various formats over the years. This new version of the album also includes three bonus tracks from Canto. That was a trio that expanded to four members and became Bodast. Apparently Howe believes that changing the name wasn't a great decision. Either way, it is literally history. This set presents an intriguing side to Steve Howe's musical legacy. These guys were steeped in psychedelia. That said, bits of the type of sound (and in some places actually pieces of songs that later became Yes tunes) one would later associate with Yes emerge here and there. It should be noted that I had previously reviewed all the Bodast songs on another set. For the sake of consistency the track reviews of those are copied or modified from the original review. I would say that this set is well worth having. The booklet is quite informative and very cool and the music (although a bit dated in sound) is vibrant and strong. It should be noted that this lands under progressive rock more because of Howe's involvement than the actual music, but this probably does fit under "proto-prog" reasonably well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at
Track by Track Review
Nether Street
Yes fans will recognize this as the introduction section (along with some other parts) was reworked and used in “Starship Trooper."  It’s a cool song, even if it feels a bit dated. It’s got some of the most potent Steve Howe guitar soloing of the whole set.
Tired Towers
This is perhaps the least interesting song on show here. It’s not that it’s bad; it’s just not very unique. It would be possible to imagine any number of 1960s bands doing this song – other than the trademark Steve Howe solo that serves as the outro.
Mr. Jones
There’s more of a psychedelic air to this, and the song rocks out quite well. It’s a cool tune and a step up from the previous one, even though it’s still not the most unique or original thing we’ve heard. Still, there’s some tasty guitar work from Mr. Howe.
Do You Remember
Drums lead things out of the gate here. The cut is a smoking hot psychedelic rocker. Steve Howe's guitar is so hot on this cut. The whole thing just really rocks.
Beyond Winter
This is fairly prog like and quite psychedelic at the same time. It’s a good piece of music with a number of interesting changes and alterations. Howe really shines on the cut.
Once in a Lifetime

On the one hand this is pretty similar to the rest of the music on the album. That said, it’s one of the more effective pieces and Howe really does a great job of adding some killer guitar flavorings throughout.

Black Leather Gloves
This killer rocker is one of the highlights of the set. It’s hard edged and in many ways not that different from a lot of the music here and yet the drama and power make it more effective than some of the other music. There’s a riff in the middle of this that was later used in “Close to the Edge."
I Want You
I peg this one as a Yardbirds kind of cut. It’s a good rocker, but not really a standout by any means.  
1000 Years
Based on a more folk oriented sound, this is another 1960s styled tune and another strong song. It’s got some intriguing moments and doesn’t fit into the “more of the same” category.
Nothing to Cry for
A trademark Howe acoustic guitar solo opens this up. Then they fire out into a killer piece of psychedelia that has some tasty guitar work and intriguing twists and turns. It even gets a bit classical at times and there are sections that feel quite a bit like Yes.
The Spanish Song

I see where this song gets its title as some of the guitar is Spanish in nature. I like the vocals on this better than those on the Bodast material. The guitar really drives this with some killer riffing. There is a good chunk of world music built into this. This fades down mid-guitar riffing.

Power of Music
Trademark Howe sounds start this. Although it works to more of a 1960s rock sound, there are definitely ties to Howe's work in Yes present here. The instrumental jam later in the piece features a cool groove and some great Howe soloing.
Come Over Stranger
This one that has some killer Howe riffing all over it. Beyond that, though, it's just sort of an average tune.
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Progressive Rock

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./