Yes - The Ladder

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Eagle Records
Catalog Number: EDL EAG 236-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:27:00

Growing up with Yes and knowing there's a new album on its way is always a fascinating time. Knowing that my good friend and idol Rick Wakeman is no longer with the most talented band ever, then again, is a difficult situation. Especially the fact that Igor Khoroshev "lends" many a Wakeman idea and technique, is difficult to accept. However Yes is Jon Anderson and our little man keeps on singing as if it were his very first recording! As a whole The Ladder sounds like the album which logically should have been released right after both Keys To Ascension albums. In the opening track "Homeworld" you can hear the atmosphere of The Yes Album mingled with the best from Close To The Edge, Fragile and Going For The One, yet with a contemporary approach. That "fresh" approach is mainly the work of Billy Sherwood, known for his work with World Trade, longtime friend of Chris Squire and a great deal more "symphonic" than Trevor Rabin is. Also the production by the late Bruce Fairburn gives the music more "drive," more "power," elements which are welcomed bu the drumming style of Alan White and which perfectly complement the swinging input from Anderson, Howe and Squire. The way Howe's guitar playing lies on top of the keyboard section is very similar to the build up of "Starship Trooper." The fact that the band really feels great can be found in the many frivolous interludes such as the bossa-nova rhythms in "Lightning Strikes." Yes on the dance floor? If it depends on "Face To Face," why not (I guess we might expect some remixes soon!).

Commercial sidesteps during "To Be Alive (Hep Yada)" sort of steers the music slightly in the Open Your Eyes direction. If you are looking for "Close To The Edge - The Sequel," then I'm afraid you won't really find what you're looking for, even if at the end of "Finally" you some of the best music Yes has ever written, featuring a very sensitive Steve Howe on top of swirling violins. Also don't expect a remake of "The Fish," yet in "The Messenger," Squire gets all the room necessary to let his "old" Rickenbacker really roar without going "over-the-top." Without any doubt "New Language" is a magnificent composition where accessible parts go hand in hand with flashbacks from the Tales period. The closing track "Nine Voices" (which ends with a choir that harks back to "Roundabout") lets the unequalled voice of Jon Anderson dance on the acoustic guitar of Howe. Meanwhile, it's probably Billy Sherwood offering us his talents on sitar and tabla in order to let the Yes music intertwine with the Indian culture. Maybe a "naughty" wink of an eye towards the psychedelic sixties, yet The Ladder lets us hear a fresh, reborn Yes, the sum of a collection of "oldies" augmented with the adrenaline of newcomers Sherwood and Khoroshev.

When Yes released Keys To Ascension I and II in '96 and '97, both the live version of "Revealing Science?" from Tales plus new songs like "That, That Is" and "Mind Drive" made us hope for the best. Leaving Britain behind and finding a new life in America has made sure that we have a completely new Yes today, where the mix between "classic" Yes and accessibility have never been stronger than on the current The Ladder. And you? You should already be on the top rung of The Ladder!

Homeworld (The Ladder) (9:33) / It Will Be A Good Day (The River) (4:53) / Lightning Strikes (4:34) / Can I? (1:32) / Face to Face (5:03) / If Only You Knew (5:42) / To Be Alive (Hep Yada) (5:07) / Finally (6:01) / The Messenger (5:13) / New Language (9:19) / Nine Voices (Longwalker) (3:20)

Jon Anderson - lead vocals
Steve Howe - lead, acoustic, and steel guitar, mandolin, and vocals
Billy Sherwood - guitars and vocals
Chris Squire - bass and vocals
Alan White - drums, percussion and vocals
Igor Khoroshev - keyboards and vocals

Yes (1969)
Time And A Word (1970)
The Yes Album (1971)
Fragile (1972)
Close To The Edge (1972)
Yessongs (1973)
Tales From Topographic Oceans (1974)
Relayer (1975)
Yesterdays (1975)
Going For The One (1977)
Tormato (1978)
Yesshows (1980)
Drama (1980)
Keys To The Studio (1980)
Classic Yes (1982)
90125 (1983/2004)
90125 Live - The Solos (1985)
Big Generator (1987)
Union (1989)
Yesyears (1991)
Yesstory (1991)
Greatest Hits (1993)
Highlights: The Very Best Of Yes (1993)
Talk (1994)
Affirmative: The Yes Solo Family Album (1994)
Keys To Ascension I (1996)
Keys To Ascension II (1997)
Open Your Eyes (1997)
Yes, Friends And Relatives (1998)
Beyond And Before: BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (1998)
Something's Coming (1998)
Friends & Relatives (1998)
The Ladder (1999)
Millennium Collection (1999)
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (2000)
Yes, Friends and Relatives - Volume Two (2001)
YesSymphonic (ep) (2001)
Magnification (2001)
Keystudio (ep) (2001)
3 For 1 Box Set (2001)
Original Members Of Yes (2001)
Extended Versions (2002)
Friends And Relatives: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 (2002)
Yestoday (2002)
In A Word (2002)
Yes Remixes (2003)
Friends And Relatives: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2 (2003)
Roundabout: Best Of Yes Live (2003)
The Yes Story Gold (2003)
The Ultimate Yes - 35th Anniverary Collection (2004)
(Re)Union (2004)
Topography: The Yes Anthology (2004)
Inside Yes 1968-1973: A Critical Review (2004)
The Word Is Live (2005)
Live And Solo: The Collection (2006)
Greatest Hits Live (2006)
An Evening Of Yes (2006)
Yesstories: Group & Solo Tales (2006)
Essentially Yes (2006)
The Definitive Rock Collection (2007)
Roundabout & Other Hits (2006)
Live At Montreux 2003 (2007)
Works (2007)
The Best Of Yes: 1970-1987 (2007)
Symphonic Live (2009)
The BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (2009)
Introducing Yes (2009)
Wonderous Stories: The Best Of Yes (2009)
Union Live (2011)
Fly From Here (2011)
In The Present - Live From Lyon (2011)
Heaven & Earth (2014)
Songs From Tsongas (2014)
Like It Is: Yes At The Bristol Hippodrome (2014)
Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy-Two (boxset) (2015)
Like It Is: Yes At The Mesa Arts Center (2015)

9012LIve (VHS/DVD) (1985/2005)
Greatest Hits Video (VHS/DVD) (1991/2001)
Yesyears: A Retrospective (VHS/DVD) (1991/2003)
Yes: Live - 1975 At Q.P.R. (VHS) (1993)
Live In Philadelphia 1979 (VHS/DVD) (1996/2003)
Keys To Ascension (VHS/DVD) (1997/2001/2009)
The Union Tour Live (DVD) (1999)
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (VHS/DVD) (2000)
The Best Of MusikLaden Live (VHS/DVD) (2000/2003)
Live In Amsterdam (VHS/DVD) (2002)
Symphonic Live (DVD+CD) (2003)
Yes: Special Edition EP (DVD) (2003)
YesSpeak (DVD) (2003)
YesAcoustic (DVD) (2004/2006)
35th Anniversary Concert: Songs From Tsongas (DVD) (2004)
YesSpeak - YesAcoustic - 35th Anniversary Edition (DVD) (2005)
Critical Review 1968-1973 (DVD) (2005)
Greatest Video Hits (DVD) (2005)
Inside Yes Plus Friends And Family (DVD) (2006)
Acoustic Live (DVD) (2006)
Total Rock Review (DVD) (2006)
Close To The Edge: Rock Milestones (DVD) (2007)
Live At Montreux (DVD/BR) (2007)
The Lost Broadcasts (DVD) (2009)
Rock Of The 70s (DVD) (2009)
Union Live (2011)
Live Hemel Hempstead Pavilion October 3rd 1971 (2014)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin UK

Added: February 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1523
Language: english


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