The Bodhisattva Beat
Music and Life

Yes: Fly From Here

Fly From Here: 2011

With all the upheaval in the band over the last few years, I was surprised to see a new Yes album. Of course ‘drama’ is nothing new where this outfit is concerned, and it looks like that is exactly what they were after. “Drama” was the only other Yes album without Jon Anderson, so I guess they decided to go back to that plan on “Fly From Here.” They stuck with their live replacement vocalist Benoit David, but again the call was made to Trevor Horn (his old Buggles partner Geoff Downes is still a fixture in the band).

I am a fan of this particular Yes collaboration and hoped it would bear some good new ideas. Unfortunately it seems all they wanted was to turn the clock back to 1980. Short of the existence of an actual time machine, that is pretty much what they did. The “Fly From Here” suite was written at that time, and the production sounds very similar. Benoit David may be new, but let’s face the fact that he has previously been making his living as a Jon Anderson impersonator.

The music isn’t bad. It’s quite nice actually, and may have spawned a good follow up to “Drama.” The problem is that the inspiration came over 30 years ago. When these guys were cooking together back then, they may have honed it into something very special. Now it is merely an echo of the past. Once again “Fly From Here” is not a bad album, but it’s not remarkable either. I know this will be another in my collection that rarely gets heard.

It’s time for Yes fans to get in touch with reality. The band has been out of gas for quite a while now and this latest release proves it. Even with bringing in a new singer and one old friend, they still had to use decades old material. There obviously weren’t enough new ideas, or good ones. Yes also used to be the type of band that could wow you with instrumentation alone. That has also faded. So here is yet another very listenable, tame, latter day album that only makes us yearn for the past. I think I’ll put on “Tales From Topographic Oceans” now.

Chris Squire – bass guitar, vocals
Steve Howe – guitars, vocals
Alan White – drums
Geoff Downes – keyboards
Benoit David – lead vocals
Trevor Horn – vocals, producer

 

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