The PlasticReleased on elpee, cassette and CD in 1986 in the US and Canada (GRP, GRPA/GRC-1026, GRPD-9535), Brazil (GRP, 290002), Germany (GRP, 91026) and Japan (GRP, VIJ-28069); reached #6 on the US Jazz charts. Re-released on CD in Japan (Universal, UCCU-5178). Re-released on expanded CD with three bonus tracks on November 24, 2003 in Japan (Universal).
Fragile was Yes' breakthrough album, propelling them in a matter of weeks from a cult act to an international phenomenon; not coincidentally, it also marked the point where all of the elements of the music (and more) that would define their success for more than a decade fell into place fully formed. The science-fiction and fantasy elements that had driven the more successful songs on their preceding record, The Yes Album, were pushed much harder here, and not just in the music but in the packaging of the album:the Roger Dean-designed cover was itself a fascinating creation that seemed to relate to the music and drew the purchaser's attention in a manner that few records since the heyday of the psychedelic era could match. Having thrown original keyboard player Tony Kaye overboard early in the sessions --- principally over his refusal to accept the need for the Moog synthesizer in lieu of his preferred Hammond organ --- the band welcomed Rick Wakeman into its ranks. His use of the Moog, among other instruments, coupled with an overall bolder and more aggressive style of playing, opened the way for a harder, hotter sound by the group as a whole; bassist Chris Squire sounds like he's got his amp turned up to \"12,\" and Steve Howe's electric guitars are not far behind, although the group also displayed subtlety where it was needed. The opening minute of \"Roundabout,\" the album opener --- and the basis for the edited single that would reach number 13 on the Billboard charts and get the group onto AM radio in a way that most other prog rock outfits could only look upon with envy --- was dominated by Howe's acoustic guitar and Bill Bruford's drums, and only in the middle section did the band show some of what they could do with serious amperage. Elsewhere on the record, as on \"South Side of the Sky,\" they would sound as though they were ready to leave the ground (and the planet), between the volume and intensity of their playing. \"Long Distance Runaround,\" which also served as the B-side of the single, was probably the most accessible track here apart from \"Roundabout,\" but they were both ambitious enough to carry most listeners on to the heavier sides at the core of this long player. The solo tracks by the members were actually a necessity: they needed to get Fragile out in a hurry to cover the cost of the keyboards that Wakeman had added to the group's sonic arsenal. But they ended up being more than filler. Each member, in effect, took a \"bow\" in mostly fairly serious settings, and Squire's \"The Fish\" and Howe's \"Mood For a Day\" pointed directly to future, more substantial projects as well as taking on a life of their own on-stage. If not exactly their peak, Fragile was as perfect a record as the group would ever make, and just as flawless in its timing as its content.
The second official concert package from Yes contains tunes recorded over a span of two years (1976-1978) and two different incarnations of the band. Like its live predecessor Yessongs (1973), Yesshows finds the combo during one of their states of perpetual change. Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass/vocals), and Alan White (drums) are joined by Rick Wakeman (keyboards) on a majority of the selections. The exceptions being \"Gates of Delirium\" from Relayer (1974) and the Tales from Topographic Oceans' (1973) epic \"Ritual\" --- which is presented in two parts --- and has Patrick Moraz (keyboards) in Wakeman's stead. The original concept contained a few features that would have been akin to Yessongs. They debated as to whether they should make it another triple-LP and feature Tales from Topographic Oceans in its entirety, like Close to the Edge had been done on Yessongs. Undecided, they made a rough mix of a two-album incarnation, but then shelved it in order to focus their attentions on creating new music. Purportedly, that unapproved (by Yes, anyway) version was cleaned up by the record company and released for the holiday shopping frenzy of 1980. As issued, the seven tracks hang well together and provide enthusiasts an opportunity to hear a mixture of older and newer material. Best of all, Yes retain their enviable ability to ably re-create the complex and challenging passages with a soul that is occasionally lacking from the studio counterparts. Reaching back nearly a decade is an excellent update of the optimistic \"Aquarian Age\" anthem and the title composition of their second platter, \"Time and a Word.\" It is enveloped by a pair of equally well-executed sides from Going for the One (1977). Here, both the opener \"Parallels\" and the song \"Going for the One\" exceed the comparatively sterile non-live readings. Particularly endearing and inspired is Anderson's off-key voice crack during the high-octane chorus of the latter. The more involved works --- especially the Moraz performances on \"The Gates of Delirium\" and the nearly half-hour \"Ritual\" --- are fuelled by a continuous energy. They build on the structure established from the respective long-players, yet even the most intricate elements and dynamics are amplified in their decisiveness and command. Anderson's intimacy and passion fuse on the closer \"Wondrous Stories,\" almost as if releasing the audience from one last embrace.
The album opens with the track Disciple of the Sun as if it is getting ready to launch with a beautiful angelic harmony; although you just have that feeling that you are about to embark on some kind of amazing trip. And there you are, suddenly thrust right into the very flavor of the album. The arrangement and production quality is just amazing and throughout this album you really do feel inside a huge arena but with a god-like graphic equalizer so as to not make you feel distant from the warmth of the sound. The amazing thing about VHB is that they get away with many driving guitar riffs that at first sound a little poppy in nature but it only with many listenings you begin to grasp what they are trying to achieve; which is making rock relevant and popular again. The 2nd track Let Thy Will be Done is a great example of early Purple mixed with a little Lenny Kravitz with a modern feel to it. Each track has many magical moments and the sound is sooo rich, and has such depth and deliberation. Not to mention, the brothers are all extremely talented musicians, singers, and producers. Each track certainly moves and flows like water and waterfalls. Which is great, if you like to not know where you are going. River is the 3rd track which delves into the mystical and eastern sound to start and almost gives a wink to Enya but again you know it will be going somewhere else very shortly. What a wonderful catchy tune and expert musicianship and production and grand in nature. Von Hertzen Brothers know how to enjoy themselves and know how to create an atmosphere. In Your Arms is a kind of love song as well as almost a nostalgic look back at the Crimson King with a dash of Stills and Nash. These guys appreciate love and birth and put much into songs about their loved ones. Again, there is nothing predictable for long with VHB. This is one of the most creative tracks overall on the album. Open Water Stormy Weather is a fun track which evolves into a very catchy song. After listening a few times you almost hear parts of each track repeating through your mind. The track melds in nicely with the next track Ocean of Mercy. Kiss a WishBy far their most popular song in Finland, and as much as it was cute, and some may even go as far to say predictable, all is forgiven for the honesty of the song and complexity of something that at first is dismissible. The song is Floyd-esque in that it has many parts inside one song. This keeps the interest and makes the song complete and intelligent in nature even with teeny pop lyrics like 'Kiss A Wish'. Surely it is not so bad to want a Kiss or a Wish from time to time After all is the last track. This little gem is just simply gorgeous. Atmospheric, clever, with wonderful vocals to boot. It leaves you there where it found you, wanting more, but satisfied with the journey, but knowing you will be back again soon. What more can one ask of an album However, there are two bonus tracks on the LP. Ebb Tide Ride is the first bonus track is a wonderful shuffle train with some awesome rockabilly style drumming skills mixed with some Tarantino, and basically a track for the musicians to get some solo time. But it is a worthy stand alone track and rocks very well. The last bonus track on the album is another version of the earlier track River. This one is a little more acoustic in nature and so different that it took me a while to realize it was the same track. A little sitar is never missed. To sum up.Approach, at first take, can be underestimated or even overlooked, but VHB have all the right elements; Fire, Earth, Air and of course Water. Certain tracks will flow through you and leave lasting impressions in your thoughts. At random moments their catchy songs will appear in your mind. An energetic album full with the flow of love, life and what is to come.4.5 Stars from me on this album for being as close to progrock that crossover can be and for surprising me each time I listen. social review comments Review PermalinkPosted Monday, January 14, 2019 Review this album Report (Review #2118381) 153554b96e