Yes are true legends: despite lineup changes, the British band is releasing their 23rd album on 19th May 2023. I had the opportunity to listen to Mirror To The Sky before the publication already, so that I can share my view in time.
Yes – About The Artists
Yes is a progressive rock band, which has been founded in 1968 in London. However, none of the current band members is a founding one. A few of them have been Yes members in the 1970’s already though. As of 2023, Yes consists of Steve Howe (guitars), Geoff Downes (keys), Billy Sherwood (bass), Jon Davison (lead vocals, guitar, percussion) and drummer and percussionist Jay Schellen. They are members of the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame since 1994. They started releasing music with a self-titled album in 1969. Their biggest albums were Fragile (1971), Close to the Edge (1972) and 90125 (1983). In 2021, they released their last album The Quest, which was the first release after a seven year hiatus. Globally, the biggest single success by Yes is US chart topper Owner of a Lonely Heart (1983).
Yes – Mirror To The Sky – Track by Track
The nine track album lasts 63 minutes.
1. Cut from the Stars
Billy Sherwood and his feisty bass is driving the opener, which is certainly leading to a lot of smiles on the fans’ side. The song just comes with a nice duration to develop a theme and showcase the instrumental abilities of the band. The orchestra is back… or have they ever been gone? The Quest is not too long ago – and most of the critics were rather positive.
2. All Connected
While the opening Cut From The Stars felt to start very active and agile, All Connected takes a rather modest approach. Not too surprisingly from the perspective that this is one of four epic tracks which are eight minutes – or longer (this one is 9:03). There is a stronger focus on the guitars and also Davison on the vocal side seems to play a more important role now. The long duration of the song also gives time for some more radical melodic changes.
Okay, that’s it. We are leaving the already-known land of single releases, all remaining songs of Mirror To The Sky are published as part of the album. Like Luminosity. The song is just a second shorter than its predecessor. The song is starting more harmonic and also more dignified, but later also develops very narrative, almost fairy tale alike episodes. And, of course, a nine minute track does also have plenty of space to showcase the instrumental talents of the band in some solos.
4. Living Out Their Dream
The beginning of the fourth song is very forceful. The bass is taking control of Living Out Their Dream – and just when you start thinking that the howling guitar sounds a bit like a country track, Davison breaks the thought with a vocal part. The song has likely a bit of a nostalgic feeling to fans as well, nicely connecting to rather earlier works of Yes. Fans of more rocking tracks might put this one on their list of favorites.
5. Mirror to the Sky
Shouldn’t the title track play a key role in an album in general? Yes don’t leave any doubt about that in this album – Mirror To The Sky is an almost 14 minute epic – so if you need a drink or a bite, press the pause button before you head into this musical adventure. The key question about a that long song is likely: ain’t it getting boring? Are the Brits able to entertain me for so long? I feel they do as they merge several parts and section into one big and impressive work. Like a large scale masterpiece of a painter. Impressing.
6. Circles of Time
After this super-epic one, a five minute song like Circles of Time feels like a rush. The song is working with a very limited, acoustic style arrangement. Davison is using a rather high voice, which brings back the magical fairy tale feeling to the album. Yes takes you to nine travels into their musical worlds in Mirror To The Sky – and this one is one of the loveliest trips you are booking with them in 2023.
7. Unknown Place
The nine songs all come with a very different character. The seventh song has a bit of a dark beginning with touches of world music – but then it turns into a rather easy and melodic listen. However, the song is working with different voices, which partially makes it feel rather pop-ish. The song reminds me of some early Genesis works. Enjoy this eight minute listen!
8. One Second Is Enough
The keys and organ section is a key driver on the second last song, which is having a nice focus on the chorus. A rather classic and mainstream-alike structured song with a nice and light-footed main theme.
9. Magic Potion
The finale is a speedy song, which is having a nice leverage of differently flavored musical elements. Magic Potion is showcasing a lot of the band’s signature abilities, from multi-vocal works to very virtuous instrumental interpretations. Thus, it feels like the perfect ending to me.
Yes – Mirror To The Sky – Spotify
Here is the 2023 Yes album on Spotify:
Yes – Mirror To The Sky – My View
Yes are legends of music history – and Mirror To The Sky is definitely no “some old men need to cash it again” album. There are modern and nostalgic elements and the band leads you through a lovely nine song journey with masterful instrumental and vocal passion. I feel thankful for the listen.
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