Yes - "Fly from Here" CD Review (Frontiers Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yes - "Fly from Here" CD Review (Frontiers Records)

Yes - 'Fly from Here' CD Review (Frontier Records)It is starting to feel like 1979/1980 all over again, [Jon] Anderson and [Oliver] Wakeman both leave Yes, Yes regroups with vocalist Benoit David (a Trevor Horn sound-alike) and keyboardist Geoff Downes, Roger Dean does his first Yes album cover in years and the material focuses around songs brought to the group by keyboardist Geoff Downes and producer Trevor Horn.

The disc starts off with the twenty-four minute / five–part epic “Fly from Here” which was originally brought to the band as “We Can Fly from Here” by Downes and Horn in 1980 but ultimately left off of the Drama album. This new re-working of the song includes the original song plus “Sad Night at the Airfield” (a demo from The Buggles’ 1981 album Adventures in Modern Recording session), another previously unreleased Buggles demo “Madman at the Screens” and a new jittery composition by Steve Howe entitled “Bumpy Ride” that borders on Talking Heads' style funk. Continuing to leverage the some of the Buggles’ previously unreleased recordings, Chris Squire has said that "Life on a Film Set" is based on "Riding a Tide" (also released as a bonus track on Adventures in Modern Recording).

Of the remaining tracks, Steve Howe and Chris Squire both contributed separate pieces. The only song written by the full band (including Oliver Wakeman, prior to his departure) was “Into the Storm”, which sounds like something out of the 90125 era. Howe’s contributions are “Hour of Need”, where David sounds like a dead-ringer for Jon Anderson and the guitar instrumental "Solitaire", which is Howe's 'update' to "Mood for a Day".

Collectors Note: A significantly longer version of “Hour of Need” (6:45m) is included as a bonus track on the Japanese issue of Fly from Here.

Chris Squire takes lead vocals on his contribution, “The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be", which has an early-Yes/Syn vibe. This song was written last decade for an aborted solo project and it was co-written by Gerard Johnson (who played with Squire in The Syn) and Simon Sessler.

Fly from Here is fairly mellow and nowhere near as edgy as Drama but it is a solid and mature performance from a band that had seemed to be running out of gas. As to be expected, the same “you can’t have Yes without Jon Anderson” drama is flaring up on the internet. Most interesting was a “sour grapes” comment from Jon Anderson who told Rolling Stone “I wasn't really convinced…The new singer is singing good, but it sounded a bit dated to me. Also, the production wasn't as good as I expected. They've got a great producer with Trevor Horn, so what the hell are you doing?" The nay-sayers should keep in mind that, while this disc doesn’t break any new ground, it is head and shoulders above some of the band’s releases in the 90’s (specifically Talk and Open Your Eyes).

Yes is currently touring the summer sheds on a co-headlining bill with Styx and the set list includes "Fly From Here" from the new disc and "Tempus Fugit" from Drama. In other Yes-related news, Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman will be playing a string North American shows in the fall.