Yes - Drama
What do you get when you cross the remains of the '70s incarnation of Yes with The Buggles (synth-pop one hit wonders of "Video Killed The Radio Star" fame)? You get this album, apparently!
While trying to write and record a follow-up to Tormato
, Yes disintegrated. Several unproductive recording sessions and much squabbling over "artistic differences" led to original vocalist Jon Anderson and keyboard player extraordinaire Rick Wakeman leaving. The Buggles (who had the same manager as Yes and were fans) were invited to contribute a song to the new Yes album; if this wasn't odd enough (and much to their surprise), Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes were invited to join the band full-time as replacements for the recently departed Anderson and Wakeman.
The result is not quite what you'd expect... and it's also surprisingly good. While Downes' keyboards do add a bit of an '80s new-wavey flavor at times (and his use of vocoder is straight out of The Buggles), it mostly works. The overall sound on much of this album is also pretty aggressive by Yes standards.
I suspect the album's title is a reference to the circumstances which led to its creation. Even the cover art seems to be a reference to the breakup of the "classic" lineup of the band -- three black panthers (symbolizing Howe, Squire, and White?) chasing away two white birds (Anderson and Wakeman?)... supposedly much of the friction which led to the split centered on how Howe, Squire, and White wanted to take the band towards a more aggressive, harder rock sound, while Anderson and Wakeman were resisting this.
IMO this album is an overlooked gem which doesn't get the respect it deserves. No, it isn't up to the lofty standards of their classics; but damnit, it's good!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHFbzaf8FX8
(Egads, the intro to this qualifies as heavy metal! Were they listening to Sabbath or something?)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL68VE-Qi7Y
(Another one where the intro really grabs your attention, before the main theme kicks in.)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzxZzIiO84Y
(Prog/ska fusion? Love the bass line too.)
The years just pass like trains. I wave, but they don't slow down.
-- Steven Wilson