When a band like Yes releases a new album, there are enormous expectations everywhere, even if their studio works "The Ladder", "Magnification" and "Fly From Here", which have been released since 1999, only offered isolated highlights. Since Trevor Horn, who was jointly responsible for the success of "Fly From Here", was not available as a producer for "Heaven & Earth", Yes remembered Roy Thomas Baker (Queen), who had already worked with them in 1979, but had not been able to prevent the cancellation of the Paris sessions at that time. Although Baker apparently had the participants in "Heaven & Earth" better under control, internal band harmony is not necessarily a guarantee for a convincing end product. This becomes all too clear on "Heaven & Earth", because Yes' twenty-first studio record is full of old-fashioned retroprog and artpop with 08/15 harmonies. It sometimes sounds so banal that tears will come to the confessed fan. The best performer is the new singer Jon Davison, whose bell-bright organ reminds astonishingly of his great predecessor Jon Anderson. Otherwise, it's dark as a zap. Keyboarder Geoff Downes has completely overslept the zeitgeist when it comes to sound selection, Chris Squire - actually one of the greatest of his guild - doesn't create a single original bass riff. And guitarist Steve Howe, who always likes to attack the commercial Yes phase between 1983 and 1994, couldn't prevent compositional cruelties like "Step Beyond" or the irrelevant folk song "It Was All We Knew" - someone should say something against the Trevor-Rabin era! Only at the nine-minute "Subway Walls" is the old experimental spirit still noticeable. All in all, however, the creative flame of Yes seems to have almost gone out in 2014.
Top Track: Subway Walls