In retrospect this odd-ball 1980 album with Jon Anderson (uniquely) and Rick Wakeman (yet again) absent stayed faithful to the classic Yes sound and has worn the years well. The freshness Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes brought to the party was badly needed at the time, and the result is a lot more enjoyable than its disappointing predecessor `Tormato'.
Although Trevor Horn's vocal range does not quite match Anderson's distinctive soaring falsetto, his vocal style is so close you hardly notice the difference (Horn had always been a big fan of Yes' music) and his lyrical flourishes do fit the classic Yes mould. The more-than-competent Geoff Downes was Yes' fourth keyboard player in 12 years, and as with Patrick Moraz his playing blends seamlessly with Steve Howe's fast virtuoso guitar licks, Chris Squire's masterful bass lines and the precise & energetic drumming of Alan White to create a mouth-watering cocktail whilst adding a uniquely individual flavour to the sound.
`Machine Messiah' for some fans easily makes it into the top 10 of Yes' best numbers, and it's a pity that on his return to the band, Jon Anderson always refused to sing it (or any of the `Drama' songs) onstage.
Overall verdict: very good. It's a pity so many diehard Yes fans can't get past the absence of Jon Anderson on this album, but in Trevor Horn's defence it's difficult to imagine any replacement singer at the time who could have delivered a better performance. And Horn went on to produce the great 1983 follow-up `90125' which saw Anderson return to the mike fronting the band.
Final note: it's difficult to dissent from the general view that listeners are best to stick with the original six album tracks, and pass on the `pointless additions' to the later CD releases which do not enhance the reputation of Yes.