I've had my CD for a week now and after listening to it many times (and having a spare moment in my work schedule) I'm prepared to write a review. It's good! I've enjoyed listening to the entire album clear through many times in the past week, which is more than can be said for Magnification (always wanted to skip one song), The Ladder (always wanted to skip a couple songs), or Open Your Eyes (always wanted to skip more than half of the songs!) So compared with the rest of the band's relatively recent catalog, it fares quite well.
It's got some very poppy moments, which we've come to expect from Yes in recent years. Fortunately they're mixed in with some quite interesting proggy bits and some nice dense instrumentation.
This album and recent events in the band's history have a lot of fans stirred up, but really—it's nothing we haven't seen before. After all, this is Yes! Line-up changes and behind-the-scenes drama are what it's all about. I became a fan of Yes at the time of Union (I was 18 at the time) so I got my fill of the whole YesWest/AWBH mess. I finally decided that I didn't care who played on what; I just liked music that didn't bore me by being overly repetitive or predictable. I'm happy to say that there is at least one song on EVERY Yes album that I really like.
So Jon got sick and the band found someone else to sing. Trevor Horn came along with some 30-year-old post-Drama and Buggles material that he wanted to get recorded and brought Geoff Downes along with him. Deal with it. Musically, it's a good album.
Face it, these guys are OLD. This could be one of our last chances to hear some of our favorite musicians in the studio. Rather than moaning and groaning about "what should have been" (according to our own warped perceptions) we should be celebrating how wonderful it is that we've got an exceptional talent like Trevor Horn producing some incredibly talented Yesmen once again to create some beautiful music. And don't forget the marvelous artwork by Roger Dean.
Yes have posted a film-style video for one of the more pop-oriented moments from their new CD on Youtube. It's interesting to watch. To my knowledge, producer and ex-Yes man Trevor Horn is the only person associated with the band to make an appearance in the video; he's the guy with the cigar. The band does not appear; the music is used as the soundtrack for this mini-film.
Here's the video!
In other news, Rick Wakeman, Trevor Rabin, and Jon Anderson are reportedly working together on a new project. There was even a rumor that Bill Bruford had been invited to join. This will be interesting, I wonder what they'll call themselves; ABW...R? I am excited to hear what they come up with.