probably the most, or at least one of the most, successful progressive/art rock
Yes - Beyond & Before (Purple Pyramid) 1998
This is not Yes' first album as it was released in 1998, but it contains tracks that were all recorded between mid 1969 and early 1970. This gold two CD set contains songs that actually sound better than the studio recordings as these "live on the radio" recordings are played by a band who is young, hungry, and out for blood, so to speak. The BBC recordings are also cool because they were never really meant for commercial release, so the bands were not stiff like a studio recording might be. All the songs are probably first takes as the BBC were known to be strict on the one take rule. The performances all date from the tail end of the psychedelic era, and a time when the Nice were the only fully functioning progressive rock unit in England. The bad part is that the singing is sometimes a bit rough and there is always the missed note or, God forbid, the dropped drum stick. Songs like "Dear Father," for example are a little raw. "Every Little Thing," a track written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is the most exciting track here. As with all the cover songs, Yes, make them sound as if they had written them themselves. "No Opportunity Necessary..." is a Richie Havens song and "Everydays" is a Stephen Stills song. Interesting liner notes by co-founder and ex-guitarist Peter Banks who seems to be holding a grudge against Steve Howe. All-in-all, a great package that comes wrapped up in a nice slipcase and includes a poster. My mom bought me this for my birthday one year. Mom's rule!
Yes (Atlantic) 1969
and Before" (4:50)
Well, the first time I heard this I didn't like it as it is not the classically driven music that I had already grew accustomed to. This was more like jazzy 60's pop rock. I have grown to like it over the years, but it is still not one of my favorite Yes albums. "Yesterday & Today" has a cool bass line by the one and only Chris Squire. "Sweetness" is as annoying as the title suggests. "Survival" has hints of the creative genius that would soon come. "Every Little Thing" is a Beatles' cover and "I See You" is a Richie Havens song, I believe.
Once again, this album has hints of what is to come, especially in "Astral Traveller," "The Prophet," and "Time & A Word". "No Opportunity. . ." is another Richie Havens song but is far more enjoyable than "I See You" as the Yes version is injected with jazz influences. (That is until the bridge which changes into a bluesy-country folk rock thing.) Not a bad album, but still not as good as what is to come.
YES! This was the beginning of a long line of brilliant progressive rock albums by what is now considered the classic Yes line-up.(with the exception of Rick Wakeman who would join soon.) One of the greatest guitarists ever born, Steve Howe, joined the band at this point, replacing Peter Banks. Of course there was also the bass wizardry of Chris Squire, the heavenly voice of Jon Anderson, and the drumming of Bill Bruford. (Who also has played in Genesis, King Crimson, and A.B.W.H.) So with this line-up, Yes creates their first masterpeice. "Yours is No Disgrace" is a classic Yes song and also their first epic (long form) song. "The Clap" is an absolutely brilliant classical guitar piece that remains a concert favorite even now. "Starship Trooper" is a song that could only have been inspired by God himself. "I've Seen All Good People," although still one of my favorite songs, has been ruined a bit by radio overplay. Fortunately I don't listen to the radio any longer. "A Venture" is the weak spot on an otherwise flawless album. It is a vocal solo song?!? "Perpetual Change" rounds out the album.
Now the line-up is complete with Rick Wakeman taking over the keys for the very competent Tony Kaye (who will return some ten years later.) This is without a doubt Yes' most popular 70's album. "Roundabout", "Long Distance Runaround", and "Heart of the Sunrise," are all awesome Yes songs. Of course, all three have been given more airplay than I can stand. (Radio sure can wreck a good song with overplay!) Five of the tracks on this album are solo tracks; one for each member of the band. "The Fish," another Steve Howe acoustic number is incredible. "South Side of the Sky," the albums most obscure track is a great song although never given the attention of the others. This was also the first Yes album that Roger Dean, who made Yes' album covers as infamous as their music, painted.
Yes - Close to the Edge (Atlantic) 1972
the Edge" (18:50)
Another Roger Dean cover, but the worst cover he ever painted for them. There just isn't much too it. The music, on the other hand, is inspired. There are only THREE SONGS! Each of them a progressive rock masterpiece! Tempo changes and mood shifts abound! Get out your headphones, turn out the lights, kick back and enjoy!
Yes - Yessongs (Atlantic) 1973
When this was released it was a three record set in a gatefold cover that was truly as much the masterpeice as the music it contained. (I have the vinyl as well as the CD) Yes performing live proves that they are as proficient and tight on the stage as they are in the studio. Most of the songs contained are from their three previous masterpieces, making this the King of Masterpieces (corny, I know.) "Excerpts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII" is the only exception, being from Rick Wakeman's solo album of the same name. If I could only own one Yes CD, this would be the one.
Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans (Atlantic) 1974
This is one of those discs that you will need to be in the right mood for as it is so progressive, complex, and bizarre that it's hard to follow at times. Mood music of the highest order. Great artwork by Roger Dean once again.
Yes - Relayer (Atlantic) 1974
Gates of Delirium" (21:55)
Uh oh, Rick Wakeman leaves to pursue his solo career leaving Patrick Morazto to fill his hard to fill shoes. (Patrick who?) Anyhow, "Gates of Delirium", is arguably the BEST of Yes's twenty plus minute epic songs, and is one heavy stinkin' song! The rest of the songs I can't tell you much about as they are some of the least listened to songs in my Yes collection. A bit obscure, I'll tell you that. Very cool Roger Dean cover though.
Yes - Going for the One (Atlantic) 1976
for the One" (5:30)
Rick is back!Ya! Anyhow, this album was the beginning of the shorter more rock-radio oriented songs...well, sort of. "Going for the One" and "Wonderous Stories" are both total commercial rock songs. Still, I like this disc. I suppose had Yes done another album of nothing but long songs people would have grown tired of them. "Awaken" is an AWESOME epic Yes song.
Yes - Quasi Mystical Vision (CDR bootleg)
1. "Siberian Khatru"
Yes, were just so awesome in the 70's. Decent recording for a 70's show, although the sound is a little on the trebbly side and there are two gaping holes in "Siberian Khatru" and "Gates of Delirium". I hate that! The recording sounds like it was probably a radio broadcast as the overall sound is compressed a bit. The main point of interest on these discs, besides yet another version of "Long Distance Runaround" is the unreleased track "Sunhillow" and a rare recording of "Sound Chaser". Steve Howe sounds amazing here, proving once again why he is one of my favorite guitarist. He may not be the most technical player in the world, but his style and charisma are undeniable. This disc was given to me in a trade by fellow Yes fan and cd collector KingGodSpace.
Yes - Tormato (Atlantic) 1978
For some reason people seem to hate this album. Reviewers claim that the band "ran out of gas". The fact is however, I LOVE IT! Nostalgia? Perhaps, but I find "Tormato" to be a really enjoyable disc. OK, there are no twenty minute songs. So what! "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" is one of the most majestic songs Yes has ever written. "Release, Release" is the closest thing to heavy metal that Yes has ever done. It's fast and choatic, yet melodic at the same time. Steve Howe really shines on this album. I also an quite fond of "Circus of Heaven". Jon Anderson's voice combined with the ethereal lyrics, and Howe's heavenly guitar work is absolutely magnificent. "Don't Kill the Whale" was even a successful single for the band. As a band, Yes were beginning to fall apart at this time so most fans would not call this disc a masterpiece. I suppose it does fall short in some areas, however, it's still a great disc and one I listen to frequently. As a matter of fact, this disc remains one of my favorite Yes albums to this day, almost three decades later.
In 2004 this CD was reissued by Rhino in 2004 with nine bonus tracks, including five previously unreleased songs and two demos. Of course this made this disc a neccessity for me. The bonus tracks are all of excellent sound quality. Even the demo cuts are a good listen.
Yes - Wembley Arena 1978 (CDR bootleg)
Phenomenal show with excellent sound quality. It was very cool to hear "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" in a live setting. I don't think I have ever heard this song recorded live before. It's too bad that Yes doesn't continue to perform songs from 'Tormato.'
Gone are Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. Steve, Chris & Alan, the remaining members add some guys from the Buggles and put out what is really a Buggles album with a Yes logo on the cover. "Tempus Fugit" is really the only song that even sounds like a Yes song. but "Into the Lens" is just plain STUPID! Yes without Jon Anderson is like a hamburger without the meat. Thankfully, Steve Howe realized this and split with fellow Buggle, Geoff Downs, to form Asia. Chris & Alan hooked back up with Jon to create another new Yes with Trevor Rabin.
Yes - Dramashow-Live at Madison Square Garden 1980 (cdr bootleg)
Stellar show with what sounds like a soundboard recording. It's a bit odd hearing Trevor Horn singing classics like Roundabout and An You And I, but he does an admirable job. Personally I like most of "Drama" with the exception of "Into the Lens". Unfortunately that track is included here, but is a bit more tolerable in the live setting.
Yes - 90125 (Rhino) 1983
On a side note: Tevor Rabin also wrote the theme and the score to the blockbuster movie Armageddon.
1. "Hold On"
"9012Live-The Solos" is a bizarre release. There are only two actual songs on the CD, while the rest of the disc is made up of individual solos as performed on the 90125 live tour. You'd think they would have at least included the hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart." Ahh, but it sounds like I am complaining. This couldn't be further from the truth! As a matter of fact, one of the reasons that I enjoy Yes so much is their infatuation with extended solos and showmanship. "Si" is a Tony Kaye keyboard solo; "Solly's Beard" is a Trevor Rabin acoustic guitar jam; "Amazing Grace" is fingers flying Chris Squire making his bass sing, and "Soon" is Jon Anderson singing the last part of "Gates of Delirium". "Whitefish" is an extended jam version of the classic "The Fish," with bits and pieces of "Tempus Fugit" and "Sound Chaser" thrown in. Only thing missing is an extended drum solo, which I am sure they did but obviously did not feel the need to include it on this disc. Alan White is given a chance to shine a bit on "Whitefish" but I was hoping for a complete drum solo. Hmm, there I go complaining again.
Yes - Big Generator (Atco) 1987
of Love" (4:49)
I never listen to this one, so I won't comment on it, except for the fact that it still doesn't sound like the Yes I love. Still too pop-rock sounding. Not bad for what it is, but I sort of wish it did have a Cinema logo on it, instead of a Yes logo. ...
Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe (Arista) 1989
Well what happens here is Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe get together to record a project that is oddly titled- Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe. A.B.W.H released one studio album and one live album before getting together with other former Yesmen Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire and Alan White to record:
"Union" is a collaboration of eight former and current members of Yes. Eight of these songs were to be on the next Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album while others were intended to be released by the existing Yes outfit of Rabin, Squire, White and Kaye. I guess there was a battle over who was entitled to use the Yes name, so instead of fighting they decided to collectively release an album by the two camps with the only thing tying the two together being vocalist Jon Anderson.
Yes - Yesyears (Atlantic) -four disc box set 1991
I would NEVER have bought this at full price as it really doesn't contain that many new or rare jems. I bought it because a friend of mine, who owns a cd store, offered it to me for $20. I'm not sure who Atlantic Records were targeting with this pricey box set. As a greatest hits collection, it is way to expensive for the casual Yes fan. The serious fan already owns 95% of the stuff on these four discs. Not too smart in my estimation. Seems to me Atlantic would have sold more copies had they included more rare material, live tracks and outtakes. Of the rare and unreleased stuff, "Make it Easy," a 90125 outtake sung by Trevor Rabin, is really the only song worth owning . "Run with the Fox" is a "Drama" outtake, which is hardly even a Yes album. (see "Drama" review above.) "Something's Coming" has seen release numerous times. There is an "alternate" version of "It Can Happen" that is OK. "I'm Down" is a Beatles cover that was done way better by Aerosmith. There are also a few live tracks that are cool, but there could have been more. Also many of the live tracks feature Trevor Rabin on guitar as opposed to Steve Howe, who in my opinion, has much more personality to his guitar playing. The set also includes a very nice full color booklet and a nice cover painting by Roger Dean.
Yes - Talk (Victory) 1994
1. "The Calling"
Hard for me to say much about this one. I bought it in a frenzy of buying up Yes cds. I found this one very cheap (.99¢) Of the memorable songs, "The Calling" the album's opener is my favorite. Also, "Real Love" is an OK Trevor Rabin-era song. The rest is not terrible, just sort of forgettable. "Talk" had a lower chart peak than any new Yes album since 1972 and a shorter chart run than any new Yes album in their history up to this point. I am told that this album is out of print and very hard to find now so I am glad I held onto it.
Yes - Symphonic Music of Yes (RCA) 1993
This is not an official Yes cd, nor is it an Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe release. However, since Jon Anderson, Steve Howe and Bill Bruford all took part in this recording along with the London Philharmonic, I thought I would just include it on the Yes page. For the most part this is Yes elevator music, or more appropriately titled YesMuzak. Some of the more interesting moments has the London Community Gospel Choir singing along with Jon Anderson. Very nice. I also think that the song selection here was not the best. "Owner Of a Lonely Heart" despite being a good pop song just doesn't lend itself well to the symphonic elements like "Gates of Delirium" might have. Definitely mood music for me. If I am in just the right mellow mood, this disc is a good listen, otherwise there are far better Yes album that I would listen to.
Yes - Keys to Ascension (CMC International) 1996
I love YES live, so it was a no brainer that I would fork over the cash for this two cd, gold disc set. What I got for my hard earned cash was worth every penny even though some of this stuff was also on the live ABWH album. Hey, it's still a new recording and besides Chris Squire didn't play on the ABWH disc, so. . .well, enough justifying. There are also two brand new songs here too. "Be the One" is an annoying Jon Anderson track that takes all the worst aspects of Yes and shoves them in your face. (Can you tell I didn't like this song much?) The other song, the epic "That, That Is" is a cool Yes progressive number that does touch on the Yes of old. The whole package is wrapped up in a cool Roger Dean illustrated sleeve and included a poster. Supposedly a limited edition disc.
Yes - Keys to Ascension 2 (Purple Pyramid) 1997
Keys 2, well, now why couldn't they put these two double disc sets (Keys 1 & 2) together and release this as the box set. Now that would have been worth paying the big bucks. Actually if I add up the price I paid for these two special, limited edition 2 gold disc sets, I probably spent more than I would have on a box set. "Hi Kids, this is Mr. Record Executive. Today's word is SUCKER! Can you say SUCKER?"
Anyhow, on to the music. Disc 1 is great. These guys may be getting old, but they still play their instruments with the same passion, energy, and spirit as a young band. The classic songs sound as good as ever. It was really nice to hear "Going for the One." Now if they had only done a song from "Tormato" Ah, I'm just dreaming. Disc 2 is actually pretty good. The 18+ minute epic "Mind Drive" is a smoking Steve Howe-guitar driven progressive art rock song that really does touch on the greatness of their 70's material. And why not as the classic line-up of Howe, Anderson, Wakeman, Squire & White are back again. The rest of the material is good as well, but for some reason "Mind Drive" really just stands out in my mind. I guess after the exceptional Disc 1, Disc 2 just didn't have a chance. The whole package is wrapped up nicely in another Roger Dean sleeve and has a nice booklet and a poster.
Yes - Open Your Eyes (Beyond) 1997
of Mind" (6:00)
"Man from the Moon" and "New State of Mind" are good Yes songs, the former featuring some nice lead work from resident guitar hero Steve Howe. "Wonderlove" also features some nice leads, but to me, when you have one of the greatest guitarists ever in your band, as well as one of the best bassists, you ought to feature them. "Love Shine" sounds like it could have been on "Big Generator." OK, this disc is no where near the crap that "Union" was but it still sounds a bit more like an Asia album than a Yes album to me. That said, however, I played this over and over when I first bought it in an attempt to see if it was one of those albums that has to grow on you. Fortunately, it was, but don't expect the classic Yes sound as it's just not.
Yes - The Ladder (Beyond) 1999
Legendary producer Bruce Fairbairn (Aerosmith, Kiss, AC/DC) completed this project shortly before his death. What he managed to do was bring out the best in Yes. "The Ladder" is actually the best studio record they have done since 90215. As a matter of fact "The Ladder" takes the best of the 1970's yes and mixes in a bit of the more pop oriented "90125/Big Generator"-era. Steve Howe's guitar is brought to the front of the music again, as it belongs and John Anderson, Chris Squire and Alan White all sound top notch. "Homeworld (The Ladder)" is a tight song with a perfect mix of vocals, acoustic guitar, and piano. Steve Howe's acoustic guitar drives "Lightning Strikes" but the addition of a horn section also adds to the experience. "Face to Face" is one of the discs strongest track, and Squire lets loose with a great bass line. Chris is still one of the best bassists around. "If Only You Knew" is a love song Jon Anderson wrote for his wife. "Finally" is a good track with some angelic vocals. "The Messenger" has a nice funk feel. "New Language" is another strong track that allows all six members an opportunity to show off their extraordinary musical abilities. All in all a great Yes cd. Cover art is once again by Roger Dean. Of course, once again, the Japanese version has bonus tracks. Geez, what is it with that? Why do they always get the extra tracks?
Yes - Masterworks 2000 (2 CDR bootleg)
This concert bootleg comes from the 7/17/00 Masterworks performance in Camden, NJ, which was simulcast over the Internet at SFX LiveOnline. The final product was made made with mp3 as it's source, but sounds quite good. According to the site of the fan who made this bootleg, for the choice of songs for this tour the band surveyed fans for what songs they most wanted to hear them perform, and "Gates of Delirium" was the number one choise.
"Leaves of Green" is the acoustic ending section of "The Ancient" from Tales from Topographic Oceans".
Yes - YesSymphonic (Beyond) 2001
The Presence of" (10:24)
A pre-release EP for "Magnification" that also includes a version of "Long Distance Runaround" with the symphony orchestra. Of course they also released this on a limited edition verison of 'Magnification." Talk about a mess, if you buy Magnification at Best Buy, you get a bonus cd with "Close to the Edge" & "Long Distance Runaround". If you buy it at FYE (a parent company of Camelot, Record Town, Tape World, and the Musiclands that were allowed to run independent of Sam Goody), you get a bonus disc that features "Gates of Delirium" & "Long Distance Runaround". If you buy it at Borders Books & Music you get a bonus disc with "Ritual" and "Long Distance Runaround." Why the heck did they do that? Why not just release a double cd set with ALL the tracks. New tracks on disc one, old tracks on disc two. Argh!
Yes - Magnification (Beyond) 2001
Since Yes has been a revolving door of musicians, I must admit that one of the first things I did before even placing this disc into my cd player was to see who was playing and writing on this disc. I was pumped to see that Chris Squire, Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, and Alan White were all still present and accounted for. Unfortunately my first time listening to this cd was while lying in bed with a bad stomach virus, which I suppose was a bad idea. A few days later I put the disc in again and was pleasantly surprised by the sounds coming from my stereo. I guess it was only a matter of time before Yes would add a symphony to their already symphonic and artistic progressive rock platter. Unlike some other recent 'symphony' releases, however, the orchestra is not simply thrown over top of old Yes songs, but rather these songs were all written with the orchestra in mind. In my estimation, this is certainly one of the most intriguing Yes albums to come out in years. Certainly, I think 'The Ladder' is one of their finest as well, but this album is different, yet still completely and totally Yes. Not sure if that makes sense or not. I guess what I am trying to say is that I can't imagine an existing Yes fan being disappointed with this disc. It's just so YES!
Yes - Magnification Extras (CDR compilation)
1. "Gates of Delirium"
As I mentioned in the review of the 'YesSymphonic' EP several versions of 'Magnification' exist. A friend of mine, who is as anal a cd collector as I, bought all the versions and put together this CDR compilation of the extra tracks for me. Although there are only three songs, the total time of this disc is over 70 minutes long.
Yes - Keystudio (Sanctuary/Castle) 2001
1. Foot Prints" (9:09)
I bought the two "Keys to Ascension" CDs for both the studio tracks and the live material. However, I rarely pull out those discs to listen to the studio cuts. Rather the charm of those CDs are the live material with the studio material coming off as 'just bonus songs'. "Keystudio" takes the studio cuts from both "Keys to Ascension" CDs and makes them into one studio album. Apparently the record company that released Keys 1 & 2 either didn't have confidence in the integrity of the new studio material from Yes and felt they albums would sell better added onto live performances, or they knew that the band's diehard following would buy anything the band put out, so the studio material was split and added to the band's live performances at San Louis Obispo. I tend to think it is the second option. Either way, we were forced to buy two double disc sets to get these tracks. However, "Keystudio" should be titled "Keys to Ascension" and is the single disc studio album that should have been released in 1997. Listening to these tracks compiled together it works remarkably well. It's really a shame they weren't released like this in the first place. The songs are well crafted, sounding like classic Yes, and there is a cohesion to lyrical and musical themes now that was not apparent when the songs were split. Oddly enough, even "Be The One" sounds good to me now, even though I wasn't fond of it on the original release back in 1997. My favorite track is the spectacular, epic, guitar showcase from Steve Howe titled "That, That Is". Together Squire, Wakemen, Anderson, White and Howe offer up some brilliant, uplifting, epic, progressive rock. From the dirty sound of Squire's Richenbecker to the majestic voice of Jon Anderson to the classic guitar work of Steve Howe, Keystudio is easily on the same level as "The Ladder" or "Magnification".
Yes - Extended Versions (BMG) 2002
1. "Siberian Khatru"
Great performance by Yes, unfortunately this is just a cheesy BMG rip-off! "Extended Versions" is a low budget repackaging of "Keys to Ascension" that is not only short on packaging, but short on songs as well. However, not a bad disc for $1.24.
Yes - The Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection (Rhino) 2004
Yet another collection of Yes classics. I guess the looming question is, do we need another collection of Yes songs? After all, we already have two box sets and many, many different 'best of' compilations. Well I guess that answer depends on the listener. Personally I wasn't in a hurry to get this collection since I own everything on discs one and two. However, disc three was a nice addition and my main motivation for wanting this CD. The songs on the first two discs sound fanstastic thanks in part to a wonderful mastering job. The song selection isn't bad either, although any group with a history like Yes' is sure to leave out some great songs. "And You And I," which was left off the last boxed set, takes its rightful place on this Yes collection, even if some person favorites like "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" were left off. Also, "Love Will Find A Way" was a successful single that was left off. I am not sure why they just didn't include more songs, since there is obviously enough room on disc three to include more. Despite this minor complain, it is very cool hearing songs like "Open Your Eyes" which actually fit nicely among the band's classic catalog. However, as I already stated, it is disc three that makes the disc worthy of being in a die-hard fan's collection. The jazzy, acoustic remake of "Roundabout" is interesting, although doesn't touch the brilliance of the original. The acoustic version of "South Side Of The Sky" fared much better, with Rick Wakemans "South Side Variations" sounding like a great piece of classical music. "Show Me" by Jon Anderson, "Australia" by guitar master Steve Howe and Chris Squires adaptation of Dvoraks "New World Symphony" were a nice addition, although all three sound like b-side tracks compared to the monsters on the first disc. Still, a nice addition and essential listening for the fan who cannot get enough of these guys. This 3-disc collection is wrapped in a four panel digipack and includes an insert that open up into a poster of the cover art. A discography is also included.
Yes - Fly From Here (Frontiers Records) 2011
It's been ten years since Yes have released a new studio platter. This one took me by surprise as I didn't even know it was coming out. I was ever more surprised to read that the album would not feature the unmistakable voice of Yes, Jon Anderson. I had read some time ago that Jon was having some health issues and stopped touring with the band. However, I didn't expect a new album without him.
1. Believe Again (8:02)
"Heaven & Earth" pretty much features the same line-up as "Fly From Here", but with one noticeable difference. Vocalist Benoît David is replaced by Jon Davison, who does an admirable job emulating the feel of Jon Anderson without trying to be a clone of Anderson. Apart from his naturally high pitch voice he is definitely himself in this band. The cover art is once again done by Roger Dean who has created some of the most iconic album covers, most notably for Yes.
The sound on "Heaven & Earth" is mostly mellow. There is nothing on here that will rival the aggression of "Long Distance Runaround" or "Roundabout". In actuality, the majority of this album would be better labeled as melodic pop rock or "soft rock", as opposed to truly progressive rock. In fact, even "Fly from Here" was more dynamic than this album. However, taking a look back Yes have always had their softer, poppier tracks dating right back to when they started in the late 60's, and have maintained them through just about every one of their albums. So with "Heaven & Earth" the sound falls more along the lines of the less progressive songs from "Magnification" and "The Ladder" or even recent releases from Asia than the band's popular 70's release. There are still those tasty bass licks from Chris Squire and Steve Howe's undeniable guitar work. As well, the albums is chock full of those signature vocal harmonies and each song has strong hooks.
"Believe Again" is an odd song to open the album as it is a little to sedate for an opening number and clocking in at over eight minutes long, the song can get a little tedious. However, the chorus harmonies prove to be catchy. "The Game" is a stronger song with a solid melody wrapping around smooth verses and a sweet chorus. Steve Howe's electric guitar fills are peppered throughout this song. "Step Beyond" is a happy song with a repetitive chorus that is obviously meant to be sung along to. "To Ascend" is a gorgeous, lush and thoughtful acoustic ballad with a slightly darker vibe than most of the album. "In A World of Our Own" is a political protest song with a jazzy swagger and some fiery licks from Howe.
The true centerpiece of the album is "Light of the Ages" which pumps up the prog. The song is built around an intricate arrangement that gradually builds through orchestration, ethereal guitars and some sweet piano playing from Geoff Downes. Once again, vocalist Jon Davison does a superb job and offers up a fantastic vocal performance. The album finishes on a high note as well. "Subway Walls" is the proggiest song on the album with sweeping instrumental flourishes from all involved, and of course Squire's bass weaving a textured wall as the song builds.
"Heaven & Earth" probably won't be the first album I got to when I'm in the mood for some Yes, but then again can anything this band produces at this point in the game match up to their heyday? Probably not. As it stands it is a enjoyable and pleasant, melodic rock album.