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Yes by numbers hits the jackpot,
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This review is from: 90125 (Audio CD)
When this 1983 project was initiated, bassist Chris Squire was the only participant founder-member of Yes and using the `Yes' name for the band was not even considered. South African songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Trevor Rabin was the main driver of the project, and his profound influence endows the music of `90125' with its special flavour (though it must be said it's a flavour not to the taste of some die-hard fans).
On hearing the initial recordings Jon Anderson was intrigued and enticed into the project solely as the lead voice; Anderson had always been the principal visionary, composer and arranger of Yes' music in the 1970s but took a back seat here. Yes founder-member Tony Kaye, absent from the band since 1971, did much of the keyboard work (the remainder done by Rabin) and Alan White on drums means that this is really a Yes album minus Steve Howe, and with Rabin in the driving seat.
The result? A unique Yes album with a very 1980s feel and some memorable songs. Not only the no. 1 hit single `Owner of a lonely heart' but other songs like `It can happen' and `Leave it' are lively, upbeat and full of energy, a real departure from the classic Yes compositionally but nevertheless recognizably embodying the `Yes Sound'. The instrumental `Cinema' was deservedly Grammy-nominated, though it didn't win.
Production values (thanks to Trevor Horn) are top-notch and the Rhino remaster in particular is absolutely terrific, a joy to listen to with all the instruments clear and sharp and with excellent dynamics.
`90125' is proof positive that a band like Yes can completely re-invent itself in a good way, retaining its virtuoso musicianship and masterfully tight arrangements whilst embracing a new era to win over a new audience. If you liked Yes in the 1970s, or even more if you didn't like them - give `90125' a listen: either way, you'll likely be pleasantly surprised, and might even be won over.