A truly classic album,
This review is from: Fragile [Expanded & Remastered] (Audio CD)
It's tough to give this a star rating, because it's not Yes's best ever, but it is so much better and more interesting than anything most other bands have ever come up with, that I still had to give it 5 stars. The glorious opening track "Roundabout" is an all-time favourite and played live is a superb audience-pleaser. Its musicianship is flawless, with strong melodies and great dynamics.
The second track is a brief diversion, "Cans and Brahms". This is Rick Wakeman multitracked, with a perfectly arranged version of a lovely piece by Brahms. It is the first of five tracks that showcase the talents of the individual members of the band.
Next up is Jon Anderson's "We Have Heaven". Appropriately enough, it is heavenly music, with Anderson's voice somehow ethereal and powerful at the same time.
The segue into "South Side of the Sky" takes us through a trap-door - from Heaven, into some cold, hard-edged other world. This track is pure rock and Steve Howe's guitar cuts through like a knife. It is five highly creative individuals, blending perfectly together.
Bill Bruford's piece on drums is "Five percent for nothing" is only about 30 seconds long. Its title was a tribute to an early manager of the band who apparently took his cut for doing no work whatsoever.
Another classic next: "Long Distance Runaround". Great tune, with wonderful interplay between the keyboards and guitar, and Chris Squire on bass running rings around other exponents of the instrument. This song segues into "The Fish", an instrumental by Chris Squire featuring the bass guitar but with the whole band jamming along.
Steve Howe's piece "Mood for a Day" is a Spanish-style guitar solo. It puts Howe into the top league of rock musicians because it shows that he is a true musician, versatile and a master of his instrument.
Finally, the classic "Heart of the Sunrise". This song has so many moods and contrasts and climaxes that you could listen to it a thousand times without tiring. It is loud powerful rock, it is gentle easy music, it is emotional high and relaxing low. The genius lies in the way the band leads you from moment to moment without any awkwardness. It flows beautifully.
Fragile is a truly classic album!