Welcome, Guest
You have to register before you can post on our site.

Username
  

Password
  





Search Forums

(Advanced Search)

Forum Statistics
» Members: 1
» Latest member: IanWhann
» Forum threads: 115
» Forum posts: 115

Full Statistics

Online Users
There are currently 3 online users.
» 0 Member(s) | 2 Guest(s)
Google

Latest Threads
AC / DC - Highway To Hell
Forum: Classic Rock albums
Last Post: IanWhann
Yesterday, 02:22 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 2
AC / DC - Powerage
Forum: Classic Rock albums
Last Post: IanWhann
Yesterday, 02:12 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 3
AC / DC - Let There Be Ro...
Forum: Classic Rock albums
Last Post: IanWhann
Yesterday, 01:47 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 2
AC / DC - Dirty Deeds Don...
Forum: Classic Rock albums
Last Post: IanWhann
Yesterday, 01:42 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 2
AC / DC - T.N.T
Forum: Classic Rock albums
Last Post: IanWhann
Yesterday, 01:35 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 3
AC / DC - High Voltage
Forum: Classic Rock albums
Last Post: IanWhann
03-18-2019, 03:09 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 6
AC / DC
Forum: Classic rock Talk
Last Post: IanWhann
03-18-2019, 02:53 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 9
Emerson, Lake and Palmer ...
Forum: Prog Rock Albums List
Last Post: IanWhann
03-18-2019, 02:45 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 3
Emerson, Lake and Palmer ...
Forum: Prog Rock Albums List
Last Post: IanWhann
03-18-2019, 02:41 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 4
Emerson, Lake and Palmer ...
Forum: Prog Rock Albums List
Last Post: IanWhann
03-18-2019, 02:30 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 3

 
  Genesis - Nursery Cryme
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 10:53 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

As with Yes, record number 3 represented the "big leap" for Genesis. Phil Collins and Steve Hackett entered, bringing with them instrumental skill that the band oh-so-badly needed - in fact, this album is easily the second-most guitar-heavy of Genesis' career, as all of Hackett's tricks are on prominent display at just the right times. The progressive nature of the compositions began to enter full flight, as the band contributed three musical masterpieces in the epics. And, most of all, Gabriel finally discovered his incredible sense of the absurd, as his lyrics became more intricate and more entertaining than ever before. And that absurdity even reaches to the album cover - I may perhaps be all wet here, but I'm almost POSITIVE that the girl holding the mallet represents Gabriel, the other woman on wheels the producer, and the heads lying on the ground the other band members.
Ah yes, it also introduces us to the human-head croquet game that underpins the story of epic number one, The Musical Box. Ignoring the music just for a moment, the story Gabriel creates here is nothing short of sheer brilliance - not just the fact that it's so strange, but the way in which he makes it impossible to truly determine who the 'hero' is. I mean, Cynthia lopped off Henry's head with a mallet, but Henry comes back as an old man and rapes Cynthia. WHO DO YOU ROOT FOR HERE??!! Is the ending tragic? A victory? The answer, of course, is that it's neither (even the giant musical climax at the end doesn't really betray the nature of the piece), and that it is the first of many glorious enigmas that Peter would paint for us.
But if it were just the story that were so cool, the song would lose much of its power. No, it is truly the music itself that makes this the classic it is. The vocal melodies in the beginning and middle are beautiful but sadly pleading, while the Elizabethan Folk nature of the music alternately soothes and tenses the listener. And, of course, the faster instrumental breaks are just marvelous. Hackett is the star, no question about it, and even Tony Banks is willing to reduce the role of his regular keyboard style in the jams, often using them as a feedback supplement for Steve and Mike (it's really cool to watch a live performance of this song and realize that all of the loudest and most abrasive sounds are actually coming from Tony's keys, and that they actually work). And again, Steve's guitar parts are absolutely incredible - fast enough to satisfy one's need to hear shredding, but also impeccably constructed and written.
And, of course, we have the grand finale, with Peter once again the main star, screaming in the guise of an old man, "Why don't you TOUCH ME, TOUCH ME, TOUCH ME, TOUCH ME, TOUCH ME, TOUCH ME NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!" Granted, he could get a little gross with this part on stage, but there's no denying that this conclusion is one of the most overwhelmingly moving moments in the history of rock music.
Unfortunately, the album is somewhat inconsistent from this point onwards. The other two epics are marvelous, but most of the shorter songs are, well, kinda lame. Well, except Harold the Barrel, of course, with Peter singing the story of man about to jump off a ledge. The music is hilarious, maniacally slamming from one up-tempo theme to another while we hear things like old Mrs. Barrel singing "Your shirt's all dirty and there's a man here from the BBC - You just can't jump." But the other short songs, again, stink. For Absent Friends (with Collins' first-ever lead-vocal in Genesis) and Harlequin mostly escape me every time I hear them, and Seven Stones isn't really better. The lyrics are pretentious without being entertaining (I'll bet dollars-to-dimes that Tony wrote them!!), and the only part of the song that has ever fascinated me is the pretty mellotron part at the end.
No matter, though - the other two epics rule. Return of the Giant Hogweed, the heart-warming story of a race of weeds that take over the earth, is utterly fabulous and hilarious, from the feedback-drenched rolling guitar lines of the beginning to the ludicrously complex melody and chorus structure to the interesting jamming in the middle. Even Tony's playing doesn't seem as annoying here, as the main keyboard riff is quite entertaining. And, of course, Peter's singing, from the "Turn and run!" etc. screams of the beginning, to the 'Dance of the Giant Hogweed' at the end, when the weeds finally win their battle and Peter cries "Mighty Hogweed is avenged! Human bodies soon will know our anger! Kill them with your Hogweed hairs! Heracleum Mantegazziani!" is entertaining beyond words.
And, finally, we have Fountain of Salmacis, lyrics by Mike, which tells the story of the creation of Hermaphrodites. The lyrics are straight-forward, without too much 'commentary' or anything pretentious like that, with Peter making you feel for the 'hero' with cries like "Where are you father? Give wisdom to your son" or "Away from me cold-blooded woman, your thirst is not mine!". And some (though not really most) of the instrumental parts are cool too - there's a little too much Tony for me (though I must say the mellotron/organ fade-in, which gets reprised several time in the song, is very beautiful), and it sounds really strange in the mid-song jam when it sounds like he's playing a baseball organ, but Steve, when he's around, knocks your socks off. The simple guitar flourish at the beginning of the jam, in particular, as he slowly creeps between the speakers while building tension with an ominous call from his guitar, wows me flat every time I hear it.
So what of all this? This is certainly the biggest breakthrough of Genesis' career, as the positive aspects of the band are shown in full for the first time - but there are also still negatives. The occasional dose of lackluster songwriting, falling back on simple acoustic patterns that only try to rely on 'atmosphere' instead of actual music content, not to mention the fact that only three of the songs bare the obvious stamp of Gabriel's lyrics, drags down the rating ever so slightly. But don't get me wrong - you should definitely get this. It's just that you should probably get the next few albums first ...

The Musical Box / For Absent Friends / The Return Of The Giant Hogweed / Seven Stones / Harold The Barrel / Harlequin / The Fountain Of Salmacis

[Image: cryme.jpg]

Print this item

  Genesis - Tresspass
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 10:48 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

After everybody in the whole wide world bashed FGTR into the ground, Genesis apparently decided that if they were going to be a successful group at all, they would have to revamp in a big, big way. So they picked up a new, slightly better drummer in John Mayhew, headed into the studio and reinvented themselves as a fledgling prog-rock group. Gone were the short pop songs and youthful faces on the cover, replaced by lengthy, complex compositions with endless instrumental breaks and an icy blue album cover depicting the temptation of Christ by Lucifer.
So what's the problem? Well, the problem is that a huge number of these instrumental breaks are, at least on first few listens, dull to the extreme. A lot of them grew on me eventually, but for the first year or two that I owned this album, I couldn't even vaguely remember a large chunk of them. Put another way - take the following year's The Yes Album, preserve the quality of the songs from a melody perspective, but remove virtually all melodic and 'epic' hooks (not to mention energy) from the instrumental parts, and what you get is Trespass. But then, this was to be expected; Genesis never had the greatest chops in the world even in their hey-day, so what should one expect when they have neither of their major virtuosos, not to mention that it's only been a year since an album that had some very sub-par instrumental performances? The band does a good job of creating a lot of interesting atmosphere, and a lot of the textures during the parts when Gabriel sings are very pretty, but when the vocals disappear for a long stretch, things often get hairy.
In this respect, the first side of the album is a real pain to sit through, even if there are enough strengths to compensate at least partially. The actual songs are very, very good, don't get me wrong - even the somewhat ridiculous White Mountain, with lyrics by Rutherford, has a fabulous melody in the main portions. And the overwhelming vibe of desperation coming from Gabriel's vocals in Looking For Someone (with another fascinating and extremely complex melody) and the pretty melody and chorus in Visions of Angels make both of these tracks extremely enjoyable at times. But ONLY when Gabriel's singing - the rest of the time, my head inevitably starts drooping. I'll admit that the 'jam' at the end of Looking For Someone makes some sense, with a pretty impressive build, but the rest? Bleh.
However, the second half is significantly better. Stagnation seemed a little unmemorable to me at first, but I've come to love it over the years. The first makes for a pretty, memorable and cold ballad, and the main instrumental passage, particularly in the bits with Tony having fun with the tuning properties of the mellotron, is incredibly lovely and atmospheric. And of course, there's the fabulous return of Peter's vocals near the end, as Gabriel pleads for water and a place to rest himself ("ah ah ah AH AH AH AH AH AH AH SAID I WANNA SIT DOOOOWWWWN" is something all Gabriel fans should hear at some point). To me, though, the quiet ballad Dusk is just as good. Have you ever had the chance to sit outside during a cold winter dusk? If not, you might not be able to fully appreciate the cold majestic mood created by this track, but if you have, you'll probably agree with me in my fondness and love for this song. Not to mention that the melody is once again friggin' beautiful, with gorgeous harmonies in the choruses and even more of the shaking tenderness than usual of Peter's emoting (especially when he sings, "And if we draw some water, does the well run dry?"). And best of all, the instrumental jamming in the song is kept to an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM, only involving some pleasant acoustic lines and some flute chiming in once in a while.
So yeah, this is a good album, despite all of the problems with the instrumental passages, and ...
...
Ha! Did you really think I was going to write a review of Trespass without gushing over The Knife? It's crazy, like nothing I've ever heard before or since. For the first time ever, the Banksynths have found an awesome riff and melody to latch onto, and goodness knows I like it when Tony's playing a pattern that's interesting and makes sense. And the lyrics??!! "I'll give you the names of those you must kill, all must die with their children. Carry their heads to the palace of old, hang them high, let the blood flow"!! "Tell me my life is about to begin, tell me that I am a hero, promise me all of your violent dreams, light up your body with anger."!! And of course, "Some of you are going to die, martyrs of course to the freedom that I will provide." And the most frightening thing is that, listening to Peter scream out these lines in the way only he can, you actually believe him if you're not careful. Not to mention that there are some perfectly interesting guitar solos in the song (pretty much the only ones on the album, actually), interspersed with quiet flute lines, gloomy and majestic organ passages, Peter chanting "we are only wanting freedom" in a war-march style, all culminating in the band playing a menacing chord in a rhythm more frightening than all of the 'evil' passages of every heavy metal band ever (well, maybe except for the end of Metallica's One). It's not the absolute greatest number the band ever did, but it's certainly up there (though I actually like the Live version more, believe it or not), and by itself makes the album worth hearing and owning.
In short, all of the traits that made Genesis such a great band are already in place - it just so happens that all the negatives are splashed over them in a greater amount than usual, and they're just too much to not hurt the rating significantly. But it's still quite a good album.

Looking For Someone / White Mountain / Visions Of Angels / Stagnation / Dusk / The Knife

[Image: trespass.jpg]

Print this item

  Genesis
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 10:33 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Chat - No Replies

Formed in 1967, Genesis are among the top 30 highest-selling recording artists of all time.

Their early work is characterized by complex song structures, elaborate instrumentation and the theatrical antics of founder member and vocalist Peter-Gabriel, who left the band in 1975. Unable to find a suitable replacement, it was drummer Phil Collins who assumed vocal duties. This change, as well as the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett, two years later, saw the remaining three members (Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford) move into more accessible pop-based music. This change in style resulted in a huge growth in Genesis' popularity throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.

In 1996 Collins left to concentrate on his solo work and other projects, leaving erstwhile bandmates Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks to forge ahead with new recruit; Stiltskin vocalist Ray Wilson. This line-up lasted for one album only (1997's "Calling All Stations") and Genesis soon found itself on hiatus after the poor performance and critical reaction of the new album.

In 2006 - after years of speculation - Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford reformed Genesis for the successful "Turn It On Again" tour. A reunion involving ex-members Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett remains much talked-about and unrealised.

Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 2010 (performer)

[Image: genesis.jpg]

Print this item

  Yes - Open Your Eyes
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 09:59 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

After the studio Keys To Ascention tracks imbued long-term Yes fans with what they saw as a justifed level of expectation after years of Rabin-led Yes, 'Open Your Eyes' was, quite simply put, a massive disappointment to them. 'Open Your Eyes' began as a Chris Squire side-project with soon to be full-time Yes member Billy Sherwood in tow. Sherwood could play the keyboards and second guitar and joined Yes as a second guitarist. Russian-born Igor Khoroshev filled in the more complicated keyboard parts, Jon Anderson was roped in/expressed an interest and another new interation of Yes was born. Steve Howe, now firmly back in the Yes ranks, ended up overdubbing many of his guitar parts after the other musicians had finished. All songs are credited to the individual band members but it stands to reason Squire/Sherwood created the bulk of the material here. Perhaps that explains why Jon Anderson's contributions seem slightly less than we might expect and Howe's distinctive guitar enriches, rather than forms the bulk of the compositions. Still, time haa been kinder to 'Open Your Eyes' than any mongrel-upbringing and upsetting of expectation levels. True, the overall sound is fairly hideously over-produced and the arrangments clumsy, but there are songs here. There are tunes and lovely touches and this should, impossible as it may sound, be judged on its own merits. Several Yes member themselves would rather write the whole affair out of history, yet does that automatically mean we should, too?

The title track received some airplay in the US and no wonder, this is a modern sounding slice of up-tempo pop/rock with complicated musical hooks and easily to assimilate vocal hooks. True, this isn't the showing off of prime-time Yes but there are touches of Howe and Squire that particularly impress. The next best thing here is the opening track, 'New State Of Mind', classic Yes vocal harmonies, surprisingly heavy instrumental sounds and a few wonderful touches from Howe and 'Kroroshev'. Good solo from Howe during 'Universal Garden', check. Dodgy lyrics from Anderson, check. A soppy moment from Anderson during 'From The Balcony' and 'Wonderlove', check. Actually, despite a lack of any stand-outs at all after the first two tunes have passed, 'From The Balcony' provides a needed change in texture. What price a Steve Howe/Jon Anderson album?

New State of Mind / Open Your Eyes / Universal Garden / No Way We Can Lose / Fortune Seller / Man in the Moon / Wonderlove / From the Balcony / Love Shine / Somehow, Someday / The Solution

[Image: open.jpg]

Print this item

  Yes - keys To Ascension
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 09:52 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

The almost classic Yes lineup reunite for the first time in nearly decades for an almost new album! It gets much more exciting than this, but Yes fans were still pretty expectant at the time. Two brand new songs. Lots of live classics played by men now older than they were when they were still relevant in any way whatsoever. Rick Wakeman! Chris Squire, Jon Anderson. Erm, Alan White. Bill Bruford? Sadly not and his absence is felt. Alan is a fine drummer but he just hits the drums differently. Bill always sounded like he was attacking the drums by beating them into some other ( jazz ) shape and made the songs a lot more interesting. Alan is too straight rock music at times. Otherwise, Yes sound remarkably unaffected by age or changing events in the world. Well, for the live tracks at least. ‘Roundabout’ and ‘Starship Trooper’ are just two of the favourites here and both are impeccably played. ‘Be The One’ is a lengthy ( surprise! ) and largely tuneless non-event. Jon writes a love song for 80s radio and as well as lacking a tune it lacks distinction. It sounds no better ( possibly even worse ) than the worst non-classic line-ups Yes inflicted upon us during the entire nineteen eighties. Oh, 'Revealing Science Of God' gets a big cheer from about the four people nearest the stage! That old out of time classic from the topographical oceans album. Did Rick eat another vindaloo? Probably not, but this track remains an implausibly thrilling thing in places.

Another new song? Well, why not. 'That, That Is' is almost as long as 'Revealing Science Of God', which is saying a lot. Still, lovely ambient introduction with plenty of delicate and impressive Steve Howe acoustic work. While i'm waiting for something to happen though, i'm selling my top goal-scorer in football manager 2007 because even though i'm Liverpool, i'm a bit of a spendthrift and i'm broke. Oh, drums and chanting arrive four minutes in. Hey, good drums! Pound away my man, pound away. Bam, bam, bam. What is this chanting though? Makes 'Topographical Oceans' appear sensible. Hey, groovy Chris Squire bass guitar. This is a lovely little Yes moment. Oh god, Jon is singing nonsense again. Hang on..... back to Football Manager 2007 again for a moment. I'll be back to Yes when something else happens. Well, something unfortunate has happened. I'm speaking a few seconds later now, you understand. Where's Eddie Offord when you need him, this mix is a mess. Very mushy and compressed. I want to hear every detail, dammit. Where's my copy of 'Relayer'? Nearly nine minutes into the track now. Is Rick asleep at his keyboards? Oh, here's a brief Rick flourish. Nice moment twelve minutes in too as the song briefly threatens to not be boring. More drums, more minutes. An almost exciting rock instrumental section, but it appears utterly divorced from the rest of the track when it arrives some seventeen minutes in. We know you guys can still play, but can you still write songs? Dick Kuyt has now been sold. It appears Yes have forgotten how to write songs

Siberian Khatru [Live] / The Revealing Science of God [Live] / America [Live] / Onward [Live] / Awaken [Live] / Roundabout [Live] / Starship Trooper [Live] / Be the One / That, That Is 19:14

[Image: keys.jpg]

Print this item

  Yes - talk
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 09:41 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Jon Anderson - Vocals, Chris Squire - Bass, Vocals, Trevor Rabin - Producer, Guitar, Vocals (Background), Mixing, Keyboards, Engineer, String Arrangements, Tony Kaye - Hammond organ, Alan White - Drums, Percussion. Trevor Rabin's swan-song with Yes, 'Talk' seems to be an attempt by Trevor in part to win over the old Yes audience. Let's see from the credits above, though. Tony Kaye played very little on the album, Rabin played the majority of the keyboard parts. Chris Squire had bass parts overdubbed by Rabin. Rabin has a hand in writing or co-writing every single track. With '90125' Yes created a new sound for themselves, Trevor Rabin of course played a big part in that. So did Trevor Horn, but that's another story. So, is 'Talk' really a Yes album at all? Well, if we consider any of the Rabin Yes albums to be Yes, then so is this. It's actually closer to 70s Yes than anything they'd produced since 'Drama'. We've a digitally precise clean and souless sound and the album suffers badly from this. Middle of the road, safe pop/rock anthemns that never did get played much on the radio, as the albums UK 20 and US 33 chart peaks will testify to. Anyway, we're plunged right into 'The Calling' to kick off the album, big booming percussive sounds, a playing it safe guitar riff and Jon Anderson trying his best, bless him. The song never quite seems to decide whether it's a rocker or a pop tune and falls through the whole in the middle, although the pop tune side wins the day in the end. Hence, 'The Calling' arises, head above water and proclaiming, 'there, I survived'. There is a genuinely cool nifty little instrumental sequence in the middle of the track and Tony Kaye actually gets to play some of his hammond organ, which is a delightful link to the old Yes sound. So, after the six minute 'The Calling' we get the seven minute 'I Am Waiting' and isn't it clear what the problem is, right there? Well, lengthy song-lengths needn't be a problem, clearly. This IS Yes, after all. But, none of the songs here, even the attempted prog style closer 'Endless Dream' seems to demand to be as long as they are. 'I Am Waiting' for example has some very nice moments and some nifty heavy metal guitar parts from Rabin, yet again, it seems to be trying to pack too many showy and empty ideas into the piece. Where's the heart and soul?

Bar the closing epic, 'Endless Dream', the opening two tunes are actually the best here. 'Real Love' is truly dreadful, for example. It doesn't do anything, it doesn't go anywhere and at this stage if you're listening to the album from start to finish, you're 22 minutes into the album and only three songs down. Twenty two minutes that could easily have been condensed into thirteen minutes, without losing an ounce. You've lost the will to live? So have I. Well, people say 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' contains a lot of padding, yet I find the padding on that album working as beautiful, or at least, genuinely atmospheric, padding. During 'Talk', the padding just sounds like excuses for Trevor Rabin to wind up his guitar to eleven and try to prove himself. What's that chip on your shoulder for, Trevor? Although Trevor collaborated quite well with Anderson for a good half of this album, his sound wins, at the end of the day. Jon Anderson is mostly relegated to providing lyrics for somebody elses tunes, although yes, does get a few ideas here and there taken up by Rabin. Most obviously during the closer, 'Endless Dream'. A three part composition, the middle section is twelve minutes long and hangs together very loosely. There are some genuinely great instrumental moments, but doesn't even seem to pretend to be an actual, cohesive song. In terms of structure, it's all over the place. The two brief sections that surround the meat of the sandwich are my favourite moments here, the 'Silent Spring' instrumental is lovely atmosphere, and the closing two minute section of 'Endless Dream' seems to close the album on an optimistic, uplifting note. 'Talk'? It's an album of moments. Pick your favourite three tracks from it and keep them. Throw the rest of the album in the bin? No, not that bad. Just keep them for a rainy day when you feel like a slice of nostalgia and/or completism.

The Calling / I Am Waiting / Real Love / State Of Play / Walls / Where Will You Be / Endless Dream

[Image: talk.jpg]

Print this item

  Yes - Union
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 09:36 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

One of the highlights of this otherwise largely unengaging album project consists of the brief interlude linking tracks. 'Evensong' is the shortest running to just fifty one seconds, an atmospheric little instrumental that although inconsequential, is pretty all the same. 'Masquerade' is a little medieval Steve Howe guitar instrumental. It has a touch of class absent from most other tracks on the album. All in all, nine of the fourteen songs on the album have their origins in the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe line-up that abandoned plans to release a second album under their own surnames for this merging with the Squire/Rabin version of Yes. In truth this merger was by means of neccessity, record company interference, the chance to do a major world tour, etc, etc. The album itself was soon forgotten and is generally regarded as one of the weakest releases Yes ever put out. Personally, I wouldn't go that far. True, 'Union' doesn't hold together brilliantly as a cohesive album listening experience and true, too many of the tracks don't seem to actually go anywhere. Rather than describe this album as actively bad however, i'd simply describe it as rather dull. In terms of production, the Rabin penned 'Lift Me Up' is quite striking and lively, leaping out of the speakers in a terribly AOR late eighties kind of way. I do like the opening song a lot, quite probably my favourite actual song here, it manages to sound modern in production terms without losing all sense of the usual Yes harmonic and melodic invention. 'Miracle Of Life' is also enjoyable, a modern production that has a strong sense of pop song-structure and catchy musical and vocal hooks, both.

Searching for highlights other than the ones I've already mentioned proved fruitless for me. Too many tracks are four/five/six minutes in length, include much semi-heavy guitar riffing presumably from Mr Rabin, many atmospheric keyboard washes that act merely as padding, little sense of proper song development or structure and as a result, don't tend to invite a listener towards too many repeat hearings. The playing itself across the albums fourteen tracks is accomplished and professional, but with musicians of this calibre, we'd expect that. No, the disappointing this is how unimaginative much of the playing is. We've got Bill Bruford back on board the Yes wagon, for example. He was in a phase of utilizing those synthetic 80s drum pads, ok. Fair enough. Yet, we don't get to hear any truly memorable moments from him. Steve Howe is largely redundant bar his instrumental, 'Masquerade' in terms of his usual distinctive and/or inventive approach. Jon Anderson sings very well throughout the album, I'll give him that. And at the end of all the goings on behind the scenes of 'Union', Chris Squire retained rights to the name 'Yes', with Bruford, Howe, Wakeman and Anderson going their seperate ways once more. Well, for the time being at least.

I Would Have Waited Forever / Shock To The System / Masquerade / Lift Me Up / Without Hope You Cannot Start / Saving My Heart / Miracle Of Life / Silent Talking / The More We Live / Angklor Wat / Dangerous / Holding On / Evensong / Take The Water To The Mountain

[Image: union.jpg]

Print this item

  Yes - Big Generator
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 09:28 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Trevor Rabin reveals once and for all that 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' and the likes of the entertaining enough 'Leave It' were flukes and that actually, he couldn't write a decent song to save his entire life. '90125' had been a big hit album, sending Yes into the 80s well and truly, although not exactly intact. To all intents and purposes, '90125' was a Trevor Rabin solo album that Chris Squire and Alan White of Yes happened to play upon and that Jon Anderson just happened to be 'hired' for, as vocalist only, on just a few tracks. Tony Kaye, ex Yes keyboard man was hired to placate fans, Trevor Rabin and Trevor Horn played most of the backing tracks and keyboard parts themselves. If 90125 had been credited to Trevor Rabin, produced by Trevor Horn, it would have been far more an accurate a situation than to call it a Yes album. Still, alarmed as many Yes fans were, most were happy enough - because '90125' was decent 'enough' and did spark a commercial revival for Yes and did mean that Yes survived as an on-going entity. Steve Howe or Rick Wakeman may not have been present and the former spirit of Yes music, may have been entirely absent, but at least it was a version of Yes, even if not a definitive version! As for 'Big Generator' released some years later, Trevor Horn bailed out after most of the basic backing tracks were complete, due to arguments with Jon Anderson. Jon wanted more of a creative role for this album, wanted to get back that spirit present in classic Yes music. Trevor Rabin, the man who had written the hit 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart', wanted to swamp Yes music in semi heavy-metal guitar licks. As if that was the way to replace Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. And, we musn't forget, Trevor was trying to do exactly that! He played all the guitar and keyboards, more or less, after all!

To be fair to Trevor, he only did all of the things he did, because nobody else in the band gave a flying f**k. Well, Jon did, but Jon couldn't wrestle control away from Trevor. Trevor had Chris Squire on his side, who after Trevor had helped sell loads of records with '90125', knew what side his bread was buttered on. Or so he thought at the time. He may have been right. 'Big Generator' sold a couple of million, the first album proper Yes made without Trevor, 'Open Your Eyes' released in 1996, sold only a couple hundred thousand. Oh, there were other reasons for that. Yes history is complicated enough to forget just looking at sales figures. I've just realised. I was about to end this review and I haven't spoken about any of the actual songs and performances. Well, good musicians don't become bad ones overnight, and Jon Anderson didn't become a bad vocalist. There are some nice songs here. 'Shoot High, Aim Love', 'Rhythm Of Love'. The closing, Jon Anderson written 'Holy Lamb' is a piece of dung, very airy and light and unsubstantial.... but, even this piece of fluff sounds more like Yes than the Trevor Rabin songs do. Even though it's a worse song than many of his!

I've nothing against Trevor Rabin. He was a supremely talented guitarist, keyboard player and arranger. He wrote 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart', had talent. But, he wasn't 'Yes'. He was in Yes longer than the likes of Bill Bruford, etc, etc. In the group for years and years - but it was a different Yes. Following this album, Jon Anderson would leave the group, teaming up with, of all people, Rick Wakemen, Steve Howe and that man Bill Bruford for a collaborative album. That album went down well with the critics. The 'official' Trevor Rabin and Chris Squire Yes sued. The ultimate result was that both versions got together for an album called 'Union'.

Rhythm Of Love / Big Generator / Shoot High Aim Low / Almost Like Love / Love Will Find A Way / Final Eyes / I'm Running / Holy Lamb

[Image: big.jpg]

Print this item

  Yes - 90125
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 09:25 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Things got rather strange in Yes land. Steve Howe left. Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes left. Leaving no Yes, but just Chris Squire and Alan White, the drummer. No band at all, in fact!! There was a move to get Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, of the then recently deceased Led Zeppelin to team up with Alan White and Chris Squire. A new band to be called 'XYZ', ex-yes, ex-zeppelin. Clever, huh?? Robert Plant wasn't really into it though, and bar a few rehearsals, nothing came of it. So, enter a Mr Trevor Rabin. Guitar player, keyboard player, singer and songwriter. A new idea, a band called Cinema, to feature Alan White, Chris Squire and Trevor Rabin..... Enter Trevor Horn on production dutires. Enter ex-yes keyboard man Tony Kaye.... you see what's happening here?? The record company decided that Trevor Rabin wasn't a strong enough front-man. So, in an entirely unexpected twist, re-enter Jon Anderson, five sixths of the way through the recording of the album, and Yes are re-born. Only they aren't - nearly all of the songs were Trevor Rabin songs, the sound and vision is his. The guitar playing of Steve Howe ( then in superground Asia ) is deeply missed. But, there no two ways about it, Trevor Horn did a fabulous production job - 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' was a huge hit single, and Yes really WERE re-born! The production values are very eighties, although for 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' for example, pretty cutting edge for the time. The sound of this album is not a Yes sound, but Jon Anderson does sing in places - and that reminds you of Yes, even if nothing else does.

'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' is a great pop song, one of the finest of the decade, and won Yes a whole new audience. Elsewhere, things are less great. Lots of four or five minute, mid-tempo songs with semi hard rock guitar. Songs lacking character, although beautifully professional, and very well produced. The lyrics are toss. Some might say Jon Andersons lyrics were hardly great - but at least they raised a smile! These are non-descript. Still, the production continues to be fabulous throughout. Trevor Horn rescued this album. He played a big part in it. The song 'Cinema', the name of the band that nearly were, a two minute instrumental - is full of Chris Squire and Alan White more than any of the other computer programmed songs that are here. It sounds more like Yes, as a result. 'Leave It' is a great vocal showcase, plugging into Yes of the past whilst still sounding like the then new Yes of the present. 'Leave It' is a grand thing and one of the best tracks here. But then, 'Our Song', 'City Of Love'? These aren't Yes songs, they aren't good songs. The production is all that's here - Trevor Rabin wasn't a great song-writer and 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' was a fluke. Well, that's just my opinion, of course. Trevor Rabin was incredibly talented - and Yes became a vehicle for him. He got heard, he wouldn't have done so otherwise. Well, don't you think? The closing 'Hearts' is a pleasing seven/eight minute long piece - and the kind of thing that i'd want a band calling themselves Yes doing. Not to get stuck in the mud, or anything. It sounds little, very little, like Yes of the past. But, there are vocal workouts. There is good structure and plenty of ideas. Still, all in all, 90125 is a rather compromised event, for me. It's a sell-out - but, the fact that's it's actually pretty good, is almost enough to compensate.

Owner Of A Lonely Heart / Hold On / It Can Happen / Changes / Cinema / Leave It / Our Song / City Of Love / Hearts

[Image: 90125.jpg]

Print this item

  Yes - Drama
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 09:22 AM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Ok, so Rick Wakeman left for the second time - but that was no major problem, he'd left before and they managed fine. No, the real scary thing that happened after 'Tormato' was the fact that Jon Anderson left. Now, it's hard to even begin to imagine Yes without Jon Anderson, although in later years, it would happen again for a little while. So, what does Chris Squire and company do? Why, hire The Buggles to replace Jon and Rick. Oh, but of course! Chris apparently felt that Trevor Horn's voice sounded a little like Jon. Keyboard player Geoff Downes was no problem integrating into Yes but Trevor Horn had a far tougher task stepping into the distinctive shoes of Jon Anderson. It helped that Mr Horn had been a huge Yes fan in the past, he was very familiar with Yes music and what was required. The real reason however for Chris Squire almost forcing Yes into continuing, when perhaps any less dedicated man would have decided that enough was enough, was the fact that they already had a sold out tour of the US booked. The tour wasn't going to be an easy thing to back out of, band members leaving or no band members leaving. 'Drama' was therefore recorded relatively briskly and the band set touring the US without bothering to even tell their fans that, by the way, they had a new keyboard player and singer! The first many fans knew about it was when Yes took to the stage with a strange nervous looking fellow wearing glasses ( Trevor Horn ) stood where Jon Anderson should be. Having to sing the songs in the high registers Jon usually sang them in shot Trevor Horns voice to pieces - and it wasn't something he ever wanted to repeat, and he didn't. 

The opening 'Machine Messiah' sounds like Jon Anderson singing, it doesn't sound like The Buggles in any way, shape or form. Steve Howe is on fire with the guitar parts, doing his very best to ensure that Yes delivered a quality recording. And, for ten minutes and twenty five seconds, Yes do exactly that. Trevor Horn really does nail the vocal, sounding so much like Jon Anderson that it may as well have been Jon Anderson, for all the difference it made. 'Drama' hangs around a few major compositions surrounding filler such as the brief, inconsequential 'White Car'. 'Does It Really Happen' can be classified as a decent Yes composition, 'Run Through The Light' showcases Trevor Horns production input well, although isn't much of a song. The closing 'Tempus Fugit' is very Yes sounding with a glorious guitar and keyboard led introduction, followed by some really fine rhythm section interplay.  So, 'Drama'? An album that fails almost completely to integrate The Buggles into the Yes sound and formula, rather has the two members of The Buggles acting and pretending to be the departed members, as good as. Well, this is true of virtually every song here, apart from 'White Car' and 'Into The Lens'. It's a shame more time couldn't have been spent writing and preparing material for 'Drama', as a few more songs like 'Into The Lens' would really have hailed a new exciting era for the group, rather than glancing backwards, something Yes never used to do during their classic years. Still, yeah, 'Into The Lens' features Chris Squire and Steve Howe playing Yes parts in a Buggles song, in effect. Listen to the second Buggles album, 'Adventures In Modern Recording' for The Buggles own version of this song, but for now - we've got a glorious mix of catchy Buggles pop and Yes virtuoso playing. It works very, very well. 'Drama' works very well, although surely doesn't quite compare with the likes of 'Close To The Edge' or 'Fragile'.

Machine Messiah / White Car / Does It Really Happen / Into The Lens / Run Through The Light / Tempus Fugit

[Image: drama.jpg]

Print this item