Exposé Online banner

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

by Paul Hightower, 2014-08-08:

Heaven and Earth Cover art

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.


by Jeff Melton, 2014-07-31:

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.


Filed under: New releases , 2014 releases

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

More info

Latest news

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more

2017-12-22
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Dave Weckl Band - The Rhythm of the Soul – Back when I was in college, Weckl was God to every star-struck drummer who ever picked up a pair of sticks. His years behind the kit in both of Chick Corea's bands allowed him ample opportunity to...  (1999) » Read more

Tipographica - God Says I Can't Dance – The definition of progressive rock is growing wider each year. There is a trend that consists of injecting healthy doses of fusion, what with a jazz rock aura in the neighborhood. All over the...  (1996) » Read more

Noetics - Delayed Back – Delayed Back is a set of eleven electronica / dub / jazz / trance instrumentals by Noetics from Germany. Noetics is Ole Ohlendorf (keyboards and synths), Christian Schmidt (percussion), Christoph...  (2011) » Read more

Änglagård - Buried Alive – Anyone who attended ProgFest '94 in LA will find this last farewell hauntingly familiar. Buried Alive contains Änglagård's last live performance in its entirety, from that very...  (1997) » Read more

Tone Ghost Ether - Condor Sail Curve, The White Space & Hydrogen 2 Oxygen – Tone Ghost Ether is an improvisational ensemble collaboration between Kit Watkins, John Tlusty, and Brad Allen. Their music is all performed in real time with no overdubs, capturing the magic of the...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues