Monday, October 18, 2010

Relayer

Over the weekend, feeling a Yes mood coming on, I found myself listening to Yes' seventh studio album-Relayer. Coming off heels of the highly ambitious double concept album, Tales from Topographic Oceans, this album was recorded and released in 1974. This is the only album to feature Patrick Moraz on the keyboards. His processor, Rick Wakeman had left to pursue a solo album, only to return in the 1977 follow up Going for the One.

This album was done as the same format as 1972's classic, Close to the Edge. One 22 minute track on the first side with two 9 minute pieces on the second side. Unlike Close the Edge, this album is darker and more aggressive.

The first track, "The Gates of Delirium" is one of my personal favorite tunes ever. I just love the atmosphere of this song. This tune employs J.R. R. Tolkien like imagery, creating a lyrical story about the futility of war and a lengthy instrumental section. This instrumental battlefield has got some killer galloping rhythms, martial melodies, dissonant harmonies, and clashing sound effects. It just climaxes to a swirling whirlwind of Steve Howe's guitars and Moraz's keyboards! I can literally close my eyes and see a war between good and evil!

But wait-there's more! This epic abruptly changes pace to a soothing prayer for peace, the aftermath of war. Jon Anderson, here, belts out the finest vocals I've ever heard him sing! Listening to this section gives me the goosebumps...

Flip the record over and there are the other two tracks. "Sound Chaser" is an mostly instrumental piece that experiments with jazz fusion. There's a mind blowing synth solo that compliments the rhythmic fury of bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White. "To be Over' is the gentlest piece on the record. It features complex guitar and electric sitar overtones. While these two tracks doesn't match the the strength TGOD, they're worthy in the Yes repertoire.

This album ranks as one of my better Yes albums. It may not a classic like Close to the Edge or Fragile, it certainly among ones to get...



5 comments:

tad said...

Hey Drew: Thanx 4 the RELAYER review. I bought a copy 1nce back in my Record Store days & could never get into it 4 some reason -- it just sounded like really furious noise 2 me. & you're not the only reviewer who has described the album as violent. Thanx 4 the insights -- if I ever trip over another copy, I'll grab it. Sometimes I WANT music that kinda crashes & thrashes around, ya know? Keep rockin! -- TAD.

drewzepmeister said...

Tad, violent isn't I would describe the album. It's more darker and aggressive than rest of the Yes albums. DO get it, if you get a chance. The strength of TGOD alone is worth the price.

Perplexio said...

I've tried to get a bit more into Yes but other than their Drama album their music has never grabbed me the same way that classic Genesis or King Crimson has. If I had a choice between Relayer, Genesis' Selling England By the Pound, or King Crimson's Red... Relayer would be my third choice almost every time.

I think it's Anderson's voice honestly. I don't dislike it, but like Geddy Lee's voice I prefer it in smaller doses. A little bit of either of them goes a long way. It's nothing against either of them, it's just a personal preference thing. I do believe both of them are tremendous vocalists... their style just isn't my bag.

drewzepmeister said...

Thank you for your honesty, Perplexo. After all, music is all the matter of taste. Of all the prog rock bands out there, I find myself listening to Yes the most often. I'm not sure why, but I think it's something due to with Steve Howe's guitar work.

Perplexio said...

I think Howe is an exceptional guitarist and love his work with Asia and even the stuff he did with Steve Hackett in GTR. I'd love to hear those two work together again actually. Or maybe the 2 of them could get together with Steve Lukather, Steve Vai, and Steve Morse for "The All Steve Tour."