yes I said yes I will Yes.
May 24, 2023 8:26 AM   Subscribe

They've been around for 55 years, had at least 24 members, and surprise! Yes has a new album out, Mirror To The Sky [Discogs]. And... it's unexpectedly good? It isn't the Yes of yesteryear... But it is undeniably from the Yes DNA from many eras, and continues a legacy of musical innovation and Carl Sagan inspired lyrics, forward possibly for years more. CD 1/Vinyl Side 1: Cut From The Stars [5m27s], All Connected [9m], Luminosity [9m] (Please see below the fold for two track recommendations for those wanting a sample) Review from Ultimate Classic Rock

Side 2: Living Out Their Dream [4m45s], Mirror To The Sky [14m, RECOMMENDED - shifting prog (yes, it's long. it's Yes.)], Circles Of Time [5m]

These first six tracks are on a CD by themselves, but the album continues on a second CD. They evidently wanted to separate these tracks because they are different thematically and sonically.

CD 2/Vinyl Side 3: Unknown Place [8m12s, RECOMMENDED - four on the floor rocker], One Second Is Enough [4m]

Side 4: Magic Potion [4m]
posted by hippybear (28 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
The whole thing I think adds up to a Yes that is Yes but is a new Yes, much like the 90125 reinvention, perhaps. Poor Downes is hardly used at all until the separate three tracks. The orchestral moments are thrilling. Howe and Sherwood sort of dominate as expected, but at least Howe is practicing restraint. Davidson's vocals are really admirable, if maybe a bit low in the mix in the later tracks. I've listened a few times now and it's growing on me. Early reviews have been positive and surprised. I haven't been excited about a new Yes album in years so this is fun! But then, I really like Tormato, so what do I know?
posted by hippybear at 8:26 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]

I was like 55 years????? but yeah, I was born in 1968, that's where we're at.
I'll be checking this out!
posted by supermedusa at 8:42 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]

DNA from 25 members you say.
posted by srboisvert at 8:47 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]

i've listened to a couple tracks, they definitely sound Yes-like, but they really didn't grab me. At this point, is the band more "ship of theseus" than "Yes is Back"?
posted by jazon at 8:58 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]

Hippybear! Three cheers for the posting Title! You had me fooled until I read the text below and then I smiled.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:58 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]

It only took me 6 words past the title to know this was a hippybear post.

And as usual it’s a good one.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 9:01 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]

Oooo! If you click through to the review article, it has appended to it a Top 50 Prog Albums Ranked that should be good for some arguing (they put the King Crimson albums in totally the wrong order!)
posted by Daily Alice at 9:07 AM on May 24

is the band more "ship of theseus" than "Yes is Back"?

Ship of These Yes
posted by fedward at 9:17 AM on May 24 [18 favorites]

It's tough when a band changes members so many times. 90125 sounded fresh because Trevor Rabin was in the mix adding pop sensibilities and his own vocal style. I have Feelings about Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen but it was a different sound altogether and was in no way trying to evoke David Lee Roth. This latest Yes album sounds like they are attempting to recapture the spirit of Jon Anderson, both tonally and lyrically, and because it isn't him - and also because Chris Squire has passed on - it kind of feels like a tribute band doing original material.

And, as a long time Yes fan, I'm finally tired of Roger Dean's artwork.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:19 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]

The first time I saw yes was 53 years ago. It was my first real rock concert experience. Nobody knew who they were, and when they opened the set with "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "I've seen all good people", I was won over quickly. Holy Moly were they amazing!

Bruford and Kaye were still in the lineup (they departed shortly thereafter). Everyone around me kept wondering if the singer was a girl or a boy. Oy. They were the opening act for Jethro Tull, so it was a short set. Note the odd preponderance of cover tunes.
posted by Surely This at 10:05 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]

Not a Yes fan but a rise for the title!
posted by mumimor at 12:11 PM on May 24

I recently saw YES Epics and Classics featuring Jon Anderson and The Band Geeks (yes, that is quite a mouthful). It was spectacular. Even at 78, Jon Anderson's voice is incredible, and the band is fantastic.

Last time I saw Yes (which was a while back; Chris Squire was still alive), when asked who was singing, all I could say was "some guy with a high voice".

I do not understand the interpersonal issues that exist between Steve Howe and Jon Anderson. All I can say is that it is a shame, and Steve Howe is a jerk for keeping the only living original member of Yes from touring with the outfit that has the rights to the name "Yes".
posted by aerosolkid at 12:36 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

Chris Squire owned Yes as a band and an idea, and he basically handed the reins to Howe and Sherwood before his death, and then White had Schellen as an apprentice before his death. It is hard to remember this far back, but Steve Howe is not an originating member of Yes. But everyone involved now has been involved already for years prior to this point. Plus, they've been doing this "playing the albums" series of concert tours, which I can only think is Howe's way of getting everyone up to speed before his own departure so Yes can truly exist in a new generation.
posted by hippybear at 12:42 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

I don't think I would have known that wasn't Jon Anderson. Wild.
posted by Clustercuss at 1:02 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

I recently saw YES Epics and Classics featuring Jon Anderson and The Band Geeks (yes, that is quite a mouthful). It was spectacular. Even at 78, Jon Anderson's voice is incredible, and the band is fantastic.

That promo video on Anderson's website was, err, sheesh, quite something. Gave me chills in a couple of places but, the way it was shot/edited (at least) left me with the impression of zero chemistry between band members, esp. with Anderson always looking up and never at anyone. That would not have left me enticed enough to seek tickets had I known about the tour in time.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 1:22 PM on May 24

That promo video on Anderson's website was, err, sheesh, quite something.
Agreed. But this was a video that was put together before they even really rehearsed together; they just composted him in with the rest of that band (and it looked like they shot all of them separately as well). Anderson was obviously singing to a backing track they recorded, he was not in the same room.

The Band Geeks (who are really Richie Castellano and his musician friends) do a lot of videos of them playing covers, and during the pandemic produced videos by recording each musician individually in their own homes/studios. I suspect because of scheduling issues, that's how they put together this video.

I was quite familiar with these folks and they have quite a few Yes covers on their channel; it was a no-brainer to go see this show. Honestly, it was one of the better "Yes shows" I have ever seen, and I've been seeing Yes in concert since 1978.
posted by aerosolkid at 1:58 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]

posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:02 PM on May 24 [25 favorites]

Hold on. Apologies about my mood for a day. Even though I was close to the edge, I didn't want to leave it and you and I know that it's better to address changes. Despite Metafilter's long distance runaround, I want to look into the lens because life is nothing but perpetual change.

Despite tossing my username about as though you were in the gates of delirium, I refuse to shoot high and aim low. It's always better to be positive and love will find a way to see you meant no harm.

posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:58 PM on May 24 [11 favorites]

I went through an obligatory Yes phase in the late 70s and still feel a lot of fondness for Roundabout. I forgot about them when I got into Punk and No Wave and frankly was surprised to learn that Owner of a Lonely Heart was them.

Anyway, years later Math Rock oddballs Chavez pretty much decided that channeling Yes would be their Whole Thing, and it’s pretty glorious.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:16 PM on May 24

yIsyIwY -- what a roundabout way to say you love this post.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:45 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]

I have to admire yIsyIwY's use of Into The Lens, which is a track from a weird era of Yes which the track Living Out The Dream on this album reminds me of.

I feel like this Yes album is borrowing from all across a bunch of eras of Yes, and including the Trevor Horn era is pretty amazing.
posted by hippybear at 3:54 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]

Into the lens is my fav song on Drama
posted by supermedusa at 4:20 PM on May 24

Ha! Yes released the album on the same date as astronomers discovered a supernova that had just exploded in the Pinwheel galaxy 12-million light years away—the brightest in a decade.

That serendipity be as it may, any band that has a singer that sounds remotely like Jon Anderson, you could tell me it was the new Yes album and I'd say, "sounds legit" with no second thought.
posted by not_on_display at 4:22 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

Definitely continues the DNA of Yes. I wish I could say more than that, but I've tried and tried to like Yes for decades now and it's exactly the sort of thing I should like. For reasons unknown to me, I just can't fall in love with their music.
posted by dg at 9:58 PM on May 24

I was a huge Yes fan back in my teenage 1970s. Saw them live in 1975-77-79. They were always astonishing. But I never really made the transition with them into the 80s and beyond.

To my mind, theirs was a steady progress from their first two formative albums (okay but not quite gelling) through to the one-two-three blast off of Yes Album, Fragile and Close To The Edge. By 1972 I doubt there was any band on the planet that could match them for the sheer ambition (and attainment) of their music, particularly on Close To The Edge.

Then came Tales From Topographic Oceans which was either a disaster of Titanic proportions or simply one step further on from being close to the edge (ie: the edge itself) or both at the same time. Then came Relayer (the tour I first saw them) which, for me, stands as something of a zenith of so-called progressive rock. Gates Of Delirium indeed. .

And then things started retracting somewhat. The times were a-changing. Punk was erupting. Going For The One was something of a return to earth, and it sold well, even got good reviews, but in retrospect, I don't rate it with what came before ... except maybe Awaken. Which Jon Anderson says is his favourite all-time Yes moment -- the one song that truly encompasses all the promise he felt Yes had.

Certainly, they never came close to it again on record, and were pretty much falling apart by their next album, the scattered Tormato, after which Jon Anderson split ... and though he would return eventually, it would never come close to being the same anymore. They would never be astonishing anymore. Not to me anyway.

And speaking of Awaken (and astonishment), here's a live take from ten years ago -- Jon Anderson hooking up with Todmobile in Reykjavik. High Vibration Go On ...
posted by philip-random at 11:35 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]

I feel like they absolutely murdered prog rock with Close The The Edge. Nothing could possibly eclipse that as the pinnacle of the form. How they were all able to even carry on in the face of such absolute magnificence is beyond me. Good on them for not just laying down after that, and moving past it into the future. It has been by fits and starts, but they’ve stayed interesting and I applaud that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:33 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]

I feel like they absolutely murdered prog rock with Close The The Edge.

It was really a one-two shot with Fragile and Close To The Edge. Fragile is five solo show-off songs connected with material for the full band showing off, like a C.V. for the group. Then Close To The Edge is two side-length songs, each with a full cycle entirely unto itself. There are classical suites that are shorter than these, and are less complete of a work.

To give you some sense of the intensity of their work at this time, they released The Yes Album in Feb of 71 and toured that, and in NOVEMBER of 71 Fragile came out and more touring and then Sept of 72 was Close To The Edge. That's a level of recording that simply doesn't happen these days, and at a level and quality that bands seem to struggle to create in the fanciest studios now.
posted by hippybear at 3:09 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]

YouTube decided to hand me Yes Close To The Edge Story Behind the Album Documentary [1h] for those who want to get into the making of THAT album.
posted by hippybear at 11:42 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]

« Older "Addressing some of political journalism’s...   |   Flying low into geeky subculture Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.