YES: FLY FROM HERE
Yes are one of the most influential and ground-breaking progressive rock `n' roll bands and have been a dominant force for more than four decades. Their symphonic use of sound and innovative musical style has made each of the group's players virtuosos in their own right.
In any band you run the risk of band politics, and with a gaggle of virtuosos, you're bound to hear drama (pun intended), and Yes has had their share over the years. Most recently, the politics have led to the exits of singer Jon Anderson and inauguration of singer Benoit David. The new lineup signed a worldwide recording deal with the Italian-based record label, Frontiers Records, for their 21st studio release, Fly From Here.
With Drama-era singer Trevor Horn producing (producer on the successful 90125 and Big Generator albums), "Fly From Here" encompasses Yes' signature brand of mysticism and grand-scale compositions, maintaining a complex, symphonic sound that features the beautiful harmonies and strong heavy riffs that have become their trademark. Horn also collaborated with the songwriting and brought former Buggles and Yes partner Geoff Downes on keyboards, recreating the creative environment of the Drama album.
The music is solid and Trevor Horn's production is outstanding, and David's voice, while not Jon's, finds its own place within the band. Squire, Howe and White play in their usual melodic vein, and while Geoff Downes may not have the flamboyance of Wakeman, his sense of melody, harmonics and dynamics is excellent.
Fly From Here has a sound that hints at various incarnations of the band, and as a result sounds fresh. Although the album does not achieve the musical heights of the Fragile era, it delivers a sturdy set of quality songs that comprise a thoughtful, consistent offering that I did not expect to be as good as it is.
The Fly From Here suite (based on the Drama-era song Fly From Here) is as solidly progressive as anything produced by the band in the last couple of decades, and all of the themes in the Overture are revisited throughout the suite and the lyrics about aviation and relationships make a nice theme to base this musical suite around.
The other songs on the disc are representative of the pop sensibilities of the latter-day reunited Asia, lyrically thoughtful compositions with some gorgeous chord progressions and melodies and a more mature sound than the pop found on 90125.
From start to finish this is a solid album that leaves you wanting more.