Review – Yes – Fly From Here: Return Trip (Actually by “Yes – The Drama Line-Up”) – by Roy Hunter

I’ve been a fan of Yes (in it’s many guises) since I bought their 1st album back in 1969… I discovered King Crimson at The Rolling Stones’ “free in the park” concert, July 5th 1969 – and avidly sought out any music in this new as yet unidentified genre we now lovingly call “Prog”… So the ‘Yes Album‘ (the black cover) was maybe my third or fourth proggy purchase…

Oh what a joy, nearly 50 years on, to get my hands on this “new” release from one of my much-loved bands!

So what do we get here? A revamp of the 2011 release – the much maligned “Fly From Here” issue – the one with Canadian Benoît David as lead singer. I’m not reviewing THAT album per se, but obviously one can’t help compare it with this new release.

‘Fly From Here: Return Trip’ – sees the return of Trevor Horn as lead vocalist. No, his voice doesn’t have the range of Jon Anderson, Benoît David or Jon Davison, but as he wrote most of the material, I defy anybody to say he shouldn’t be the lead singer on this album! He does a creditable job, you can hear every word, and the differences in the production actually make this the better album in my opinion.

The fact that Chris Squire (R.I.P) is a feature of this line-up brings a sense of continuity from that far off ’69 Yes album… And of course the much admired (and often denigrated) “Drama” album of 1980… This re-release of “Fly…” is almost like a Drama, part II

There has been some tweaking of the tunes here and there, the production has shortened some by a few seconds, and if you listen closely you’ll pick out the changed/upgraded moments throughout the “Fly…” suite.

Also included on the album is an extra track, but the highlight for me is the doubling in length of the piece called Hour Of Need… Originally 3 minutes 7 seconds, thin voiced and low production has metamorphosed into a full-on prog track of 6 minutes 44 seconds!! Once the vocal part concludes we get Steve Howe in a display of just how great a musician he is! Brilliant, and it makes the second half of the album march on… literally!!

The extra track?? Don’t Take No For An Answer… It is a good bonus track, but some weakness in the vocal does show up here. Am I being super critical? I don’t think so, as the tune itself is so much better than a lot of pulp we get thrown at us these days.

In conclusion, of the 2 albums, this is the superior release, and I would have bought it, in my hour of need, for the re-vamped Hour Of Need.

That aside, it is a completist’s delight!

Released 25th March 2018

Order ‘Fly From Here: Return Trip here

See Yes on BBC Breakfast:

YES Release Fly From Here – Return Trip featuring Trevor Horn on Vocals on 25th March

On 25th March prog icons, YES, will release a brand-new mix of their album Fly From Here – Return Trip, featuring the Drama line-up and new lead vocals by Trevor Horn, to coincide with their 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Fly From Here – Return Trip can be pre-ordered via Pledge Music here:

https://yesthedramalineup.pmstores.co/

The original 2011 release of Fly From Here featured the band members who appeared on Drama: Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, plus Benoit David on lead vocals with Trevor Horn in the role of Producer.

The addition of Trevor’s lead vocals has produced a genuine sequel to Drama. Fly From Here – Return Trip was developed as a labour of love for all involved and the new vocals were recorded over the last two years amidst other commitments. Trevor began re-recording the lead vocals the day after he guested with YES at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016 and within 24 hours the rest of the band had joined him at his studio. Additional overdubs by other members have also been added.

In addition to remixing parts of the album, Trevor has added personal liner notes and the sleeve design features the painting by Roger Dean originally used on the inside of the 2011 edition.

Trevor Horn says: “I really enjoyed listening to Alan and Chris playing together again. Finishing off the album was a labour of love.”

Fly From Here – Return Trip also contains a previously unreleased song, ‘Don’t Take No for an Answer’ recorded in 2011, with Steve Howe on lead vocals. Additionally, the full-length version of ‘Hour of Need’ is included. This has previously only been included as a Japanese bonus track.

“It is great to have the original Drama line up playing Fly From Here plus several other songs Trevor had a big part in writing.” Comments Steve Howe.

Geoff Downes adds: “It’s quite amazing what Trevor has done with the album and the way it has turned out. It is most refreshing and adds a whole new dimension to the original recordings from 2011. I think the fans will appreciate it as a genuine sequel to the Drama album, and embrace it as a valuable part of our YES50 celebrations.”

Track Listing:-

Fly From Here – Overture

Fly From Here Pt 1 – We Can Fly

Fly From Here Pt 2 – Sad Night at the Airfield

Fly From Here Pt 3 – Madman at the Screens

Fly From Here Pt 4 – Bumpy Ride

Fly From Here Pt 5 – We Can Fly (Reprise)

The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be

Life on a Film Set

Hour of Need (full length version)

Solitaire

Don’t Take No for an Answer

Into the Storm

The album is a long-awaited treat for all YES fans and following Chris Squire’s passing in 2015, represents the last chance for fans to hear a follow-up to the classic YES release Drama which reached number 2 in the UK album charts in 1980.

The album is available to pre-order now exclusively via Pledge Music, plus some extra Roger Dean images and Pledge offers, and fans will be able to collect their orders, or buy direct for the first time, when YES attends the 50th Anniversary Fan Convention at the London Palladium on 25th March 2018 as part of their eagerly anticipated March 2018 UK tour. Trevor Horn will be guesting with Yes at the London Palladium [both shows] and Paris. Please see the tour dates below.

MARCH 2018 (UK & Europe)

 

Tues 13th Bristol            Colston Hall
Wed 14th    Sheffield       City Hall
Fri 16th        Glasgow       SEC Armadillo
Sat 17th        Manchester   Bridgewater Hall
Sun 18th       Gateshead    Sage
Tues 20th      Birmingham  Symphony Hall
Wed 21st    Brighton       Centre
Fri 23rd        Liverpool       Philharmonic Hall
Sat 24th        London       Palladium
Sun 25th        London       Palladium
Tue 27th        Tilburg       013
Wed 28th      Antwerp       De Roma
Fri 30th         Paris       Olympia

 

UK Tickets available from BookingsDirect.com 24hr Ticket Hotline 0844 249 2222 (subject to fees). Also available from venue box offices and select authorised ticket agencies.
Front row, Meet & Greet & VIP packages are available from YESWORLD.com
There is no support.   Please see ticket for start time.

 

DBA Release second Lyric Video for Skin Deep featuring Marc Almond from Album Scyscraper Souls

DBA (Downes Braide Association) release the second track from their recently released album Skyscraper Souls. Skin Deep featuring Marc Almond. The track is available now from iTunes or as part of the album.

Guests on Skyscraper Souls include Marc Almond, Andy Partridge (XTC), David Longdon (Big Big Train), Matthew Koma, Tim Bowness and Kate Pierson.

Chris Braide has worked with a multitude of artists including Marc Almond (featured on this track), Lana del Ray, Paloma Faith,
David Guetta, Beyonce & Sia the list is endless.

Geoff Downes has played keyboards with The Buggles, Asia and YES.

Transparent Blue vinyl – LP www.tinyurl.com/DBA3vinyl
 

CHRIS BRAIDE & GEOFF DOWNES – DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION – SKYSCRAPER SOULS

The new album by Super-duo Geoff Downes & Chris Braide, known as the Downes Braide Association (DBA),  Skyscraper Souls is out now through their own label X2X Records via Cherry Red.  This is their 3rd collaboration and follows their two previous critically-acclaimed releases Pictures of You (2012) and Suburban Ghosts (2015).

Both members have an immense body of work.  Chris Braide is a British singer, songwriter and producer, now based in LA, who has written and produced songs for Beyonce, Lana del Rey, Paloma Faith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, David Guetta, Sia, Afrojack & Marc Almond… to name a few.  Geoff Downes is the prog legend who has played keyboards in The Buggles, Asia & Yes… he co-wrote the hits Heat of the Moment and Video Killed the Radio Star.

Skyscraper Souls is a more traditional progressive/classic rock/band album than their previous material, but retains a strong pop aesthetic and features many great guest contributions, including Marc Almond, Andy Partridge from XTC and Kate Pierson from the B52s.   The front cover artwork is by Roger Dean his graphics are also featured on the lyric video for the title track. Watch it here:

The idea for the album started as a series of sketches Geoff had been working on after a break from touring last year. By the time he returned from the road he directed the subsequent pent-up energy into composition and the ideas literally poured out.  As a kid, Chris had always loved expansive pieces like Close To The Edge and Tubular Bells.  While he is a huge pop fan and has written multitudes of pop hits for pop stars, his heart has a special place for those big studio epic productions.

On this album, Downes & Braide were joined by drummer Ash Soan (Trevor Horn, Squeeze, Faithless, Del Amitri, Adele, Cee Lo Green, Will Young, Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow and many more) and bassist Andy Hodge.  Chris says, “Having such an amazing rhythm section really brought the songs to life. With previous albums we always used drum machines and samples. There is so much warmth and movement in these recordings. They breathe!”

The fact that their ‘association’ has always had to fit around their extensive commitments has never dulled their remarkable musical creativity.  This album went a step further and was co-written remotely – at no time were the pair ever in the same room!  Chris explains, “Geoff would send me folders full of stuff such as the magnificent piano pieces which turned into Glacier Girl and Prelude. As soon as I heard the chords I was writing lyrics like a mad man and before long the album started to materialize.”  Geoff adds, “The ideas themselves were in a very rough format, but with the melodies & basic harmonies. Chris started playing around with these, and often, they came back with some radical changes, but Chris was always very conscious to retain my original idea”

 The pair feel Skyscraper Souls is their strongest album to date, which is no mean feat!  This album contains constant motifs and themes that recur and flow throughout.  Keeping strong melodies to the fore they have created a wonderfully interesting soundscape.

Track list as follows:

  1. Prelude (ft Andy Partridge – XTC)
  2. Skyscraper Souls (ft Kate Pierson – B52s)
  3. Glacier Girl (ft Andy Partridge)
  4. Angel On Your Shoulder (ft Matthew Koma)
  5. Tomorrow (ft David Longdon – Big Big Train)
  6. Lighthouse (ft Tim Bowness)
  7. Skin Deep (ft Marc Almond)
  8. Darker Times (ft Andy Partridge)

Outside of DBA Downes and Braide remain in high demand.

Geoff has been pretty much flat out touring the world with Yes and Asia for the last few years. Any breaks have been filled up with other projects, including putting together some new Buggles ideas with Trevor (Horn).  He is also writing film and library music.   Yes are soon to embark on their 50th Anniversary tour so busy times lie ahead!

Chris has been writing music for movies in LA, the most recent being a new animation called LEAP.  He wrote UNSTOPPABLE for the Olympics with the artist SIA and has co-written and produced the new single for DJ Robin Schulz.  He also wrote and produced a new Marc Almond album, due out next year as well as Marc’s next single Embers.  He produced a single for Elle King for a big ad campaign featuring Kendal Jenner, and is currently scoring a movie soundtrack at his studio in LA.  He has written a song for Trevor Horn called Sky Show for an animation he was working on. With more new ventures, Chris has had no break this year, but wouldn’t have it any other way.