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This review is from: 90125 (Audio CD)
After the Drama album and tour of 1980, Jon Anderson replacement Trevor Horn went into music production and guitarist Steve Howe eloped with keyboardist Geoff Downes to form the hugely successful Asia. That left bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White to pick up the pieces.
Although they never admitted that Yes had split up, there was no doubt that it was over. However, along came guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter/producer Trevor Rabin, followed by original Yes keyboard player, Tony Kaye. They formed a group called Cinema which looked set to record with Trevor Horn as producer, and then Jon Anderson, who had got to hear some of the Cinema music, decided he wanted to sing on it, and a new look eighties version of Yes was born.
There is more to 90125 than meets the eye. To say it's a commercial sell out is quite untrue.
'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' may have chart/radio friendly appeal, but the vocals and bass playing are distinctly Yes. It also benefits from some exciting Trevor Rabin guitarwork. It works as almost a 'Roundabout' for the eighties.
'Hold On' is typical 1980's arena rock, but the vocal harmonies are unmistakably Yes.
'It Can Happen' is a traditional Yes number with a Steve Howe esque sitar/guitar sound and a memorable melody.
'Changes' has some complex instrumental passages, hammered home with some powerful drumming, and good vocal interplay between Anderson and Rabin.
'Cinema' is a good instrumental workout which I feel should have opened the album, and this leads into the poppy 'Leave It'. I must admit I'm not a fan of this track, but having said that, it works as almost a 1980s version of 'Your Move' from The Yes Album.
'Our Song' is a fairly forgettable track despite some useful keyboards from Kaye, but next track 'City Of Love' is a real show stopper with some unfamiliar hard rock style vocals from Anderson.
Album closer 'Hearts' is the longest track on the album and is arguably the best track on 90125. The vocals and lyrics are typically Yes-like and the instrumental section is quite superb with hard rock guitar, wrapped around Tony Kaye's classy hammond organ solo, reminiscent of the first three albums that he played on.
The production is probably the best and most innovative of all Yes records, and the modern cover and band logo indicate a fresh approach for a newer band, more relevant to changing musical tastes.
The music on 90125 may be more accessible than any previous Yes record, but the individual performances from the band members are excellent throughout. Special mention has to go to Trevor Rabin who plays as if Steve Howe had never existed. In fact his impact on this album is a similar one to Howe's on The Yes Album. He takes the bull by the horns and gives it everything on guitar. His songwriting is also first class. Rick Wakeman has always admitted that he would have loved to have played in this incarnation of the band, so that has to count for something.
Yes had to make this album if there was any chance of the band continuing to make music in the future. As a Yes record, it is a pivotal one in their history. Taken on it's own, it's a simply cracking album.