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Heaven & Earth

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iTunes Review

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. 

Customer Reviews

Why the freakout?

Long-time Yes fan here, someone who has interviewed the band, etc. Why the freak out? Simply stated, "Believe Again" is absolutely horrible. No linear Yes flow in the instruments or the vocals. No momentum. Several other tracks are just as bad. But, then, there is the interesting "Subway Walls," which is a fine track. Also, if Yes fans will simply listen and sing along, "To Ascend" is a beautiful, simple track. If it was framed with solid Yes material, with solid instrumental work, people would see that. Thus, buy the individual tracks. Put them in a good Yes mix. Try listening to the individual pieces.

Production? What production?

I am pretty sure I could churn out better sounding (from a production standpoint) music with my computer and some pretty basic software. I would be very ashamed to put this out in public as a band that once was so way ahead of their time and detail oriented. Can someone get Steven Wilson in touch with these guys so they can see how progressive music should be produced and sound? Shame, shame...

I Believe Again

If this new single is representative of the album as a whole, I’m sold! Can’t wait to hear the rest.

Biography

Formed: 1968 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Far and away the longest lasting and the most successful of the '70s progressive rock groups, Yes proved to be one of the lingering success stories from that musical genre. The band, founded in 1968, overcame a generational shift in its audience and the departure of its most visible members at key points in its history to reach the end of the century as the definitive progressive rock band. Their audience remained huge because they had always attracted younger listeners drawn to their mix of daunting...
Full Bio