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Yes - Fragile CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.44 | 3236 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The album that propelled Yes from being a band people liked to one that people loved, in their millions. This shows the lineup maturing into something special, although I can only give it four stars as it was great, but not perfect.

Roundabout is a constant staple of the Yes repertoire, and deservedly so. What makes it stand out for me is the way Chris Squire plays his bass guitar. As I said on my review of the previous LP, he is the only bass player who makes it sound like a lead guitar, and that is very much in evidence on this. Howe's acoustic playing is lovely, and you instantly know that a keyboard maestro has arrived in the form of Rick Wakeman, recruited from folky outfit The Strawbs, when you listen to the swirling sound he creates. However, I do not particularly rate Cans & Brahms, one of the five solo pieces by the band on the LP, as being much more than a throwaway track - it's certainly far too short to show off Wakeman's talents, and some of these solo pieces, for me, make this a four star LP rather than the perfect five.

However, that does not apply to We Have Heaven, Anderson's contribution. I love Jon's voice, and I always think of him as being someone whose voice flys, no soars, and this is particularly true on this track. Lovely.

South Side of the Sky is a rockier piece, with menacing keyboards and another thundrous bass line.

The next one, Five percent for nothing, was so named by Anderson of Bruford's contribution, and never was a name more apt, although it really upset the drummer at the time (and still does). Completely pointless, it does no justice to a fine drummer, although one who was always more jazzier than many of his contemporaries.

Long Distance Runaround is a good short piece, whose main purpose, to me, was always to lead into the finest solo track on the album, The Fish. If there is a finer example of bass playing, I would love to hear it - superb.

Mood for a Day is Howe's contribution, and has rightly become a classic. I far prefer this to The Clap as it is a more thoughtful piece of music.

The album closes with Heart of the Sunrise, one of my favourite tracks of all time.The opening Howe burst is followed by a quiet, almost dreamy vocal by Anderson accompanied by a strong bass line by Squire, the track bursts into life with almost manic playing by all concerned, then quietens again, and so on. Anderson hits the highest of high notes when he exalts Dream on, on to the Heart of the Sunrise followed by Howe's ascending burst and very menacing chords from all others. This is a very complex piece of music, which must have taken ages to perfect, but it ranks amongst their finest.

This should, really, be a perfect prog LP, but it is spoiled somewhat by traces of the self indulgence that would, in time, turn the band from world beating heroes to be cast, very unfairly in my opinion, as musical villains responsible almost solely for the onset of punk.

Highly recommended to those few of you that don't own it.

lazland | 4/5 |


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