Yes – Relayer (1974)

I confess a genuine like of Yes and have owned several of their Lps up to and including Tormato (1978), but for some reason never managed to get hold of, let alone hear, this one, even during a particularly manic “Yes Phase” during my sophomore year of high school. So it was up to my old friend, the Ashford Boot Fair, to heave this up (along with several others) for only 50p.

There are precisely three songs on this album.  They includes long, technical, virtuosic, sometimes quite unpleasant, instrumental guitar passages enlivened with harsh effects. These are interspersed with bleating or, alternately, dreamy vocals.  So far, so Yes.  The bass guitar, however, is less pronounced on Relayer and the keyboards, by then-newbie Patrick Moraz, more colour washes than melody.  Indeed, apart from the concluding section of the side-long and uncharacteristically martial “The Gates of Delirium”, melody rarely rears it’s pretty head, submerged, as it is, by riffs and flash and bludgeoning. Perfect for teenage boys to memorise and badger friends with: “You gotta hear this bit, man, it’s my favourite bit,” etc. etc.

I have always liked Roger Dean’s muted, somewhat washed-out gatefold cover, definitely more Middle Earth than Outer Space.  Apropos Wilberforces’ comments on record labels, check this baby out:

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Published in: on January 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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