Album Reviews



Union  Hear it Now

RS: 2of 5 Stars


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Union, a reunion of most of the people who used to sing and play instruments for Yes, is an eclectic miscarriage that almost isn't even worth laughing about. This is no great surprise, obviously, and it's certainly no more "disappointing" than another piece of redundant crap from Iggy Pop or the Replacements, but it's still kind of a shame. After all, Yes did make history's definitive stab at pomp-and-circumstance baroque & roll (Fragile, from 1971). And between the group's occasional self-effacing tendencies (as displayed in the immortal "Going for the One," from 1977, in which the boys admitted to running out of room in their "cosmic minds") and hip-hop aptitude (as displayed in "Owner of a Lonely Heart," from 1983), it's not farfetched to imagine these grandpas devising a way to make their orchestral urges catch up with the Enigmas and Queensrÿches of the world, at least. But no such luck.

Union features all four former members of Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe, plus Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Alan White and Chris Squire. But maybe they should've called up Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, too, because apparently eight isn't enough. Mainly, we get an overgenerous plateful of fussy fusion noodling. Also virtuoso grunge ("Silent Talking"), Gothic hoo-ha ("The More We Live – Let Go"), mellow medievalisms ("Masquerade"), Christmas music ("Miracle of Life"), tape-loop minimalism ("Holding On") and quite a few madrigal voices pondering the vast expanses of heaven between their ears. What we don't get is any of the hooks, memorable riffs or coherent lyrics that might've earned these bankrupt "ideas" more than the proverbial passing glance.


(Posted: Jun 13, 1991)


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