Nick Lowe once said, "Yes and Genesis are about as exciting as used Kleenex" and you can be sure that back when he said it, slamming so-called progressive rock bands was de rigeur. But isn't it now kinda childish to cling to that old, old story about how punk chased disco and prog from the rock n' roll temple? Shouldn't these die-hard naysayers just lighten up? Isn't it time for a Yes revival?
No, no and fuck no
When I tried re-listening to "Roundabout" now (my endurance caved at about 3:43 of the eight-and-half minutes they somehow felt this composition warranted), I did find elements to appreciate; the poppy hooks, the mild-rocking and the medieval folk but that bass line, deeply beloved by many, is still stomach-churning. More importantly, the endless busyness of the piece encapsulates all which is most loathsome about prog-rock and its cherished fallacy that more is more.
And just to keep things muddy, here's this year animal-based indie-folk sensation Grizzly Bear, making Yes' eighties hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart" sound like a Gregorian chant.
Before I drop this subject I gotta tell you a story, it's true but the names of everyone involved have been changed to lull the guilty into a false sense of security.
I once worked at a record store with a Hard Rock guy, one of those hard rock guys who was also a Yes fan. Tight pants. Flowing hair. Aspiring musician. Part-time Drug-dealer. If you moved in musical circles long enough, you've met one of his ilk. Let's call him Bon Jovi.
From the moment the store received a play copy of the eight-headed abomination that was Yes on their Union album, all Bon Jovi could think of was playing that fucker. Now we had a strict, "No stock - no play" rule so as long as we had no copies of the album to sell we could refuse to play the album in the store.
However, as we knew it must, the day came when six copies of Union arrived to taint our shelves. Me and my co-worker, a man of distinguished musical taste, let's call him Ryan Adams, looked at each other in horror. Then Ryan Adams opened up the CD case and let Union drop on the floor with a tiny clang.
"Oops," said Ryan Adams.
I took my Docs to it, grinding it across the length of the stone floor. "Oops," said I.
Ryan Adam picked up the disfigured CD and dusted it off. "Yoo-hoo, Bon Jovi, we have stock of that Yes album."
Well Bon Jovi burned a path over to us, all lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. "Oh wow, you guys'll see how great this album is really, it's like a rainbow of sound...
"0^$0fyt^1%A10^hg1F^%0$vY1$y!!!!!" said the CD player.
"Oh" said Bon Jovi, looking as if our well-lit Christmas kid had just found jagged lumps of coal beneath the shiny wrapping paper."I guess it's broken." He took it our of the CD player and returned it to the jewel case, without even noticing the damage.
Then, all slumped of shoulder and slow of step, he wandered back to the nothing he'd been so heavily engaged in before the promise of Yes.
"I guess we're assholes,Ryan Adams," I said.
"Yes we are Rob Gordon, yes we are."