Close to the Edge (1972)


  
1. Close to the Edge 2. And You and I 3. Siberian Khatru

 

It would probably be the consensus of most Yes fans that this record is one of, if not the, best Yes albums of all time. As I’ve stated in most of my reviews of Yes albums, one must be a fan of progressive rock music to enjoy such indulgences. If you don’t like prog rock – you probably shouldn’t even bother. If you are a fan of the genre, this album contains just what one would probably look for in an album. A total of three songs – one song fills the entire side one, the other two are squeezed onto side two.

The band really has found their groove, and they keep growing (and changing members) since they exploded two albums before with The Yes Album. The arrangements are more complex, but the playing is much tighter. They actually have the same lineup as on the last record (Fragile), so maybe this allowed them to grow a bit.

Whenever you have songs of this length, the tempos and moods need to change within the piece. The title cut and And You And I are actually broken down into “sections” as indicated by the song title on the actual album. These transitions work very smoothly and it was obvious that a lot of care went into the creation of the record. All of the band members sound as though they’re all on the same page and sounds like they have perfect harmony – even though they are going into many different directions with time signature changes and tempo changes. Particularly rewarding is the title track Close to the Edge with its beautiful “I Get Up, I Get Down” mantra within the piece. Chris Squire’s vocals and Rick Wakeman’s thunderous pipe organ really make this thing sound incredible.

And You And I is a toned down acoustic piece (for the most part), whereas Siberian Khatru is an almost “rock” number. As much as they shift around in styles within these songs, they manage to still sound like a well-oiled machine, and all three of these songs remain fan favorites to this day.

On the unpleasant side of things, as harmonious as the final product sounds, it apparently was not an easy album to make. With all the complexities of the arrangements, it’s not difficult to see why. Drummer Bill Bruford was so fed up that he quit the group at the conclusion of the album. This meant that three out of the original five members were now gone. No one knew at the time, but there would be a lot more personnel changes down the road.

All of this to say, if you love Yes, you’ll love this album. If you hate Yes, but maybe can stand one or two of their songs, you’ll probably hate this record more than most.

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