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Articles Home » 2014 Articles » Yes - 2014 Heaven And Earth
Yes - 2014 Heaven And Earth

ALBUM: Heaven And Earth
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2014
SPONSOR: Frontiers Haulix Portal


LINEUP: Jon Davison - lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar (tracks 1 and 6) * Steve Howe - electric, acoustic and steel guitars, backing vocals * Chris Squire - bass, backing vocals * Geoff Downes - keyboards, computer programming * Alan White - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Believe Again * 02 The Game * 03 Step Beyond * 04 To Ascend * 05 In A World Of Our Own * 06 Light Of The Ages * 07 It Was All We Knew * 08 Subway Walls



They've been described as Yes lite. In this day and age that is probably an accurate description of their current status but I'm not sure whether that's an insult or a compliment. I'll assume the latter. It's their 21st studio album, and features new singer Jon Davison (a member of Glass Hammer and Sky Cries Mary), who takes over from Benoit David, who sang on the 2011 album 'Fly From Here'. of most interest to punters here at GDM Towers is that legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker is onboard for the production here. Mixed by Billy Sherwood, you are guaranteed of sonic goodness. Not so much traditional prog from the early 70's, but a fusion of styles bought together in a melting pot from all the different bands that the current Yes membership have participated in. Davison's inclusion has been seen as a huge positive, both as the voice and a songwriting addition. The rest of the band have been appreciative of his contribution, and feel this is the start of a new chapter in the band's career.

The Songs
There's only eight songs here, and some of them are extended pieces without acquiring an 'epic' status. Four of them are over the 7 minute mark. 'Believe Again' is an extremely melodic opener. Downes has this shimmering synth part coming through which underpins this song. It's pretty good. At a pinch, I'd say 'The Game' would be one of the other better tracks here, perhaps compared to a lite version of Saga, or even what GTR would sound like now if they were still going. Geoff Downes has a clavinet synth sound as the main motif for 'Step Beyond', this one sounding pop than prog. 'In A World Of Our Own' takes a different direction; more fusion based with some interesting breaks, chops and changes. 'To Ascewnd' and 'Light Of The Ages' are two of the lighter tracks here (excuse the unintended pun); a meandering pair that drift with a thin tether attached so they don't completely drift off into space. 'It Was All We Knew' is a pleasant harmless romp, a very simplistic piece, unlike the 9 minute finale 'Subway Walls', which shuffles all about the audio landscape through a series of contrasting passages. This one is probably representative of Yes in their prime prog rock years.

In Summary
I have a feeling this will appeal mainly to those who stand at the lighter edge of melodic rock. Commendable that Frontiers like to do something different with their roster, and Yes certainly fulfil that request. Upon release of the album in July 2014, it fared very well in both the UK and USA, gaining good traction in the album charts (#20 and #26). For many years, Yes have been able to polarise the prog rock community no end, and they are one of a handful of bands who will never be able to please everyone all of the time. For what's it worth, 'Heaven And Earth' has some pleasant moments without truly setting the world on fire.

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#1 | Eric on November 16 2014 14:12:24
One of the kinder reviews I've read on this album. I dunno, I saw Yes with Davison last year. They did 'Close to The Edge' in it's entirety and it was OK but I wonder if it's time for these guys to turn out the lights and follow Pink Floyd's lead.
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