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Yes - Heaven & Earth

by Kevin Wierzbicki

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It's been a very busy year for these revitalized prog rockers. The band treated their fans to the second annual Cruise to the Edge, a luxury cruise to Cozumel where they played two shows featuring classic albums Close to the Edge and The Yes Album played in their entirety and they're currently on an American tour where they're similarly playing the Close to the Edge and Fragile albums all the way through.

Not just any old Yes line-up could pull this off but the band with the oft-changing personnel currently features Yes mainstays Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White along with Geoff Downes and singer Jon Davison, and it is this stellar line-up that has now popped with the new eight-song effort Heaven & Earth.

Fans who have maybe shied away from the band since long time singer Jon Anderson left the band can comfortably come back now since Jon Davison, handling lead vocals since 2012, sounds virtually identical to Anderson. And that means that fans of the early days now have an album that echoes all the legendary albums like those referenced above.

The most obvious nods to the '70s are the hopeful, I'm-back-on-track Davison vocal showcase "Believe Again" where astute listeners will hear hints of songs like "Starship Trooper" and "Yours is No Disgrace," and "Light of the Ages" which begins with an instrumental segment with a sublime solo from Howe before it undergoes numerous twists and changes in the typical Yes fashion. Most of the songs feature solo spotlights for Howe, Squire and Downes but, like on "It Was All We Knew," these are brief as opposed to the old days when (what some would call) noodling could go on for minutes at a time.

Also the lyrics are a little less spacey and wordy than they were in the band's first heyday; musicianship is never compromised here but songs like "Subway Walls" and "Step Beyond" have a commercial feeling to them that is probably meant to resonate with fans of the band's 90125-era work.

As a finishing touch for those who purchase the physical product, Heaven & Earth comes with an exquisite cover graphic designed by Roger Dean.

Get your copy here.

Yes - Heaven & Earth
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