RecPlay [Release date: 02.11.18]
I once read of a Genesis tribute band that released an album in tribute to another Genesis tribute band. The only step up is to tribute yourself and in essence that’s what this is all about.
Choppy waters, tinkering with a much-loved legacy, yet Yes alumni and prog pals have stepped up to the plate and delivered an entertaining and sometimes even refreshing re-run through the band’s catalogue.
Given the patchwork quilt way in which these multi-artist ventures are originated, it can be uneven at times. Yet the quality of composition shines through and there are moments when, while not eclipsing the original (heaven forfend!), these musicians shape a take on a song that retains the core values of its recorded forebear, returning its pleasures to us without precipitating a rush back to the original.
Standouts then: ‘Yours Is No Disgrace’ is as exciting as ever; nice to see Tony Kaye back on keyboards and Marisol Koss’s vocals are on the money, as for that matter are Jon Davison’s on ‘Acoustic Melody’ – everyone tries to sound like Jon.
Then there’s Steve Hackett’s trademark guitar leading the charge on ‘Cinema’ and an effecting take on ‘Sweetness’ by Pat Sansome, while also on board for the ride are Geoff Downes, Billy Sherwood, Francis Dunnery, Dave Kerzner (who performs on most tracks and co-produced) amongst further genre luminaries.
The idea here is that you borrow the songs rather than own them, so having six, no less, members of Curved Air covering ‘Soon’ renders an outcome sounding just a little too much like Curved Air (itself, a distinctive-sounding band).
‘Long Distance Runaround’ falls a bit flat but ‘The Fish’ shimmies in Sherwood’s homage to the late Chris Squire’s signature bass lines and the party ends with a suitably flourishing ‘Starship Trooper’.
For Yes collectors, essential. ***
Review by Peter Muir
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