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YES - Tales From Topographic Oceans album review

Album Review

Expanded edition of one of the world’s most expansive records by Yes

It’s one of the great – and grating – received wisdoms in the history of music. Yes’ sixth studio (double) album was – allegedly – the pretentious folly that demonstrated how far up their own jacksy the early-70s rock bands had gone: such indulgence required the short, sharp shock of punk to reboot the genre. This myth has been allowed to stand for decades, not least because Rick Wakeman is such a good sport that he’s taken the mick out of it himself. Lately, Steve Howe has been defending it, as the 90th line-up of Yes tour it live, while Jon Anderson has always perceived it as a fine, spiritual example of Yesmusic.

Your ears have been waiting all their lives for this moment.

The truth is that the first UK No 1 album of 1974 is inspired, ambitious and beautiful. It holds up today in many more dimensions than most one-trick-pony punk records, and has influenced much of the critically acclaimed music of most years since. You can hear within its high-pitched serenity and exploratory intensity glimmers of everything from Cocteau Twins to Mercury Rev. It’s well overdue a reappraisal. If idiot-of-the-people Tony Parsons slated it in 1977, that doesn’t mean you have to obey him in 2016.


From the archive

From the archive

From the archive

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