Exposé Online banner

Yes — Heaven and Earth
(Frontiers Records , 2014, CD)

by Jeff Melton, 2014-07-31:

Heaven and Earth Cover art

Yes’s first album with Jon Davison can be viewed as both a happy blessing and a saddled curse. The band’s second set of recordings with their fourth lead singer on paper reads like a disappointing recipe for disaster but instead serves as a basis for careful re-invention (a key element to any incarnation of the band). Songwriting and arrangements have been at the core of Yes’s success, and this set is surprisingly strong, if a bit safe. Having Roy Thomas Baker producing brought in a strong pop rock and an AOR radio friendly perspective from his varied and vast resume including the Cars, Queen, Journey, and the Smashing Pumpkins. Vocally the album is a juxtaposition of classic Yes harmonies, especially with Chris’s trademark singing. And Davison’s voice is a much better fit for the band than Benoit David since his range is wider and also his spiritual nature spills out favorably in lyrical contributions to songs such as “To Ascend” and the album opener “Believe Again.” His own song, “Light of the Age,” is perhaps the best composition on the album and certain to be a strong live track (along with “Subway Walls”). The only tune I have trouble with is “In a World All Our Own,” which comes off pedestrian and seems better suited for Asia than Yes; "cooking at home" is simply not a Yes lyric. Steve Howe is also pretty sedate across the disc preferring to play in service of the songs rather than stepping out of the shadows. Overall it’s Billy Sherwood’s mix that makes this recording a legitimate-sounding Yes record and one hardcore fans can dig into. Whatever you do, play it loud.


by Paul Hightower, 2014-08-08:

Yes’s first album of the post-Jon Anderson era, 2010’s Fly from Here, was a strong effort even if large chunks were based on leftovers from the early 80s. Singer Benoit David was replaced in 2012 by Jon Davison, and two years of fruitful touring encouraged Yes to return to the studio, this time under the producing helm of Roy Thomas Baker (a familiar name from the ill-fated 1979 Paris sessions). After having toured classic albums like Close to the Edge, hopes were high that fans might get the return to progressive form they had waited for. Sadly, this is not that album. Sparks of the mighty Yes of old appear in songs like “Believe Again,” “Light of the Ages,” and the mini-epic “Subway Walls,” though most surprising are the spiritual parallels between Davison and Anderson that inform much of the lyrics and explain the sunny vibe that runs through much of the collection. This also helps explain why Davison is a more convincing stage replacement for Anderson, and handing the songwriting keys over to the new guy was a gesture of immense trust on the part of the Old Guard. But whatever fire in the belly and creative genius that produced those 70s classics appears to be long gone, and Squire, Howe, and White seem content on riding their legacy into the sunset without having to prove themselves again. I suppose this is better than nothing, though the nagging sense that these guys can do better is hard to shake.


Filed under: New releases , 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Yes, Alan White, Geoff Downes

More info

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Amygdala - Amygdala – The brutal apocalyptic menace of the opener “Utrecht” could be described as a four-way collision between Univers Zero (that “chamber” sound), Magma (the rumbling, growling basses), Present...  (2004) » Read more

Gamelan Sekar Jaya - American Works for Balinese Gamelan Orchestra – The tiny island of Bali in Indonesia carries over a thousand years of rich musical tradition, originally founded in the collision of Javanese, Hindu, and indigenous cultures, the music of Bali is...  (1994) » Read more

Robert Rich & Fayrus - Zerkalo – Even before ambient – an often systems-obsessed form – became acknowledged as the music to ignore, drones had already and long allowed the listener to suspend or focus attention, entering...  (2009) » Read more

In Spe - Typewriter Concerto – This is the second album by this outstanding Estonian ensemble, probably better known as The Girl on the Beach (based on the photo on the front cover, all information on the original LP was in...  (1995) » Read more

Anima - Singularities – While eight musicians are credited here, the music features guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards, and some vocals / harmonies / choirs, and one might suspect this to be a basic four or five piece with...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues