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Rotten tormatos close the epic 1970s era for Yes
on 2 June 2013
‘Tormato’ was by general consent the weakest album from Yes in the 1970s, part-redeemed by a few OK songs. It’s a lighter, more pop-oriented offering containing the kind of short 5-minute numbers revived in the mid-70s by the ‘new wave’ movement as a rebellion against the excesses of the ‘progressive rock’ era, and looked like an attempt by the band to distance itself from the legacy of musically complex & imaginative epics like ‘Tales’ and attract a new audience.
The line-up is that of ‘Tales’ and ‘Going for the One’: Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White so you know what these guys can do, which makes the result on ‘Tormato’ all the more disappointing. Although the musicianship (as usual with this band) and production are exemplary, compositionally ‘Tormato’ doesn’t reach the heights of any of the band’s previous six albums. It’s unmistakably the ‘Yes sound’ but mostly forgettable though a few good tunes like ‘Don’t kill the Whale’ and ‘On the silent Wings of Freedom’ do shine – but not too brightly.
Well all things must move on, and the relatively disappointing ‘Tormato’ led to the opening of a new chapter in the Yes story. Jon Anderson quit the band for a few years to pursue solo work with Vangelis (leaving Chris Squire as the only surviving founder member), and Rick Wakeman left for the second time. ‘Tormato’ marked the close of the great creative 1970s era for Yes, and from this time on the band – which became a kind of venerable music-industry brand with a particular recognisable sound – entered a new dynamic, characterised by a collegiate caucas of musicians who came and went, performed the old favourites and occasionally composed some good original music.
The follow-up album carrying the Yes name was ‘Drama’ which, even with Anderson and Howe absent, was better than ‘Tormato.’