8 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Heaven & Earth finds the classic progressive powerhouse Yes exploring more conventional song-oriented material. Glass Hammer frontman Jon Davison replaces singer Benoit David (who’d replaced original singer Jon Anderson) and is such a dead ringer for Anderson that some fans might think Heaven & Earth is a reunion album. Geoff Downes’ keyboards, programmed for gentility, still provide melodic passages, while drummer Alan White is in the back of the mix with some flourishes. Bassist Chris Squire retains his thick sound, but producer Roy Thomas Baker clearly plays down Squire’s presence (though “Step Beyond” has a few gorgeous riffs). Guitarist Steve Howe is used judiciously as well. It’s an interesting idea, taking these virtuoso musicians and removing the spotlight. The ensemble playing that results is solid. “Believe Again,” “The Game,” and “Step Beyond” sound like radio hits. Every remaining song clicks in place. This isn’t vintage Yes, but it’s Yes 2014: mellow and pretty. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

Heaven & Earth finds the classic progressive powerhouse Yes exploring more conventional song-oriented material. Glass Hammer frontman Jon Davison replaces singer Benoit David (who’d replaced original singer Jon Anderson) and is such a dead ringer for Anderson that some fans might think Heaven & Earth is a reunion album. Geoff Downes’ keyboards, programmed for gentility, still provide melodic passages, while drummer Alan White is in the back of the mix with some flourishes. Bassist Chris Squire retains his thick sound, but producer Roy Thomas Baker clearly plays down Squire’s presence (though “Step Beyond” has a few gorgeous riffs). Guitarist Steve Howe is used judiciously as well. It’s an interesting idea, taking these virtuoso musicians and removing the spotlight. The ensemble playing that results is solid. “Believe Again,” “The Game,” and “Step Beyond” sound like radio hits. Every remaining song clicks in place. This isn’t vintage Yes, but it’s Yes 2014: mellow and pretty. 

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