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YES: ‘Drama (Atlantic K50736)

THIS IS it. Can the mighty Yes men succeed with the new line up, or will this Buggling around make them the joke of the century?

Wonder and tear your hair no more. You can wack this on your stereo with supreme confidence. This album doesnt find Yes tired and dejected, trying to make a fast buck out of anybody who just might fit into the shoes left by Wakeman and Anderson. This is Yes for the eighties and nineties, re-establishing themselves after the ‘Tormato debacle which seemed to highlight the forthcoming split.

Downes and Horn have been faithful to the pomp and splendour of Yes, but somehow theyve made the band looser and more accessible. Suddenly you get the impression that Yes are having fun again and the closest comparison to be made with this album is their previous masterpiece ‘Going For The One.

Yes turn heavy metal? — youd better believe it. The opening track ‘Machine Messiah is high on skull wacking and hits with a force not captured since ‘Yours Is No Disgrace. Much sweeping keys, deadweight drums and a kiss of bass from Squire. Theres a ponderous silence before the final sonic attack as Howe furiously sets the pace and the meisterwerk rushes ahead.

But the real moment youve all been waiting for is Trevor Horn making his grand vocal entrance. He has the same endearing squeak as Anderson but maybe hes just a shade or two lighter and strangely often more fulfilling. He and Downes are allowed almost complete control during the latter stages of the song which ends like a Gothic opera. Theres even room for what sounds like a humerous take off of Uncle Rick. Genuine neck tingling stuff, accept no substitute.

White Car and ‘Does It Really Happen are understated songs that grow in stature after two listenings. Theyre difficult to fully comprehend after suck an opening track, but they deserve some careful attention especially for that tender bass.

Into The Lens is where the Buglets make their real mark, some more of those old sci-fi lyrics backed by Howe skittering through the chords. The song eventually expands from luxurious soft comfort into yet more soaring themes and backing that sounds like excerpts from an old spy movie. Once again, this song takes time to establish itself but finishes with a spectacular ending and a sudden rush of sound.

Run Through The Light is quite Andersonesque and its interesting to compare a track like this with ‘Wonderous Stories, both have a strangely mystical quality.

The final track ‘Tempus Fugit is an apocalypse now as Squire dips in and out like an angry piranha and duels with Howe.

As the lads themselves said, this album re-establishes the Yes idea. Forget Yeggie prejudices and LISTEN. ☆☆☆☆☆