Picks and Pans Review: Big Generator

updated 01/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST


These are palmy days for dinosaurs, both literal and figurative types. The reptiles, always a hot item in the kiddie world, are enjoying a run with books speculating on their demise, dinosaur T-shirts, games and, of course, replicas of the big thick-skinned lunkheads themselves. Dinosaurs are thriving in the rock kingdom too. The Moody Blues and Crosby, Stills & Nash stalk the earth, and Mick Jagger still struts and shakes his tail. Now the art-rock band Yes, once a supergroup of the '70s, is clambering to the top of the heap of aging rockers with this, their second album since a revamped lineup recorded 90125 four years ago. The band, which includes three members of the original 1968 group, sounds spirited here and has found a smooth marriage of the old Yes, which featured more complex and occasionally pretentious musicianship, and the new incarnation, which favors a harder guitar sound and a deeper rhythm section. Chris Squire's bass playing still causes the floorboards to shudder, creating a sound that's akin to Godzilla going on a Sunday stroll through the streets of Tokyo. The single Love Will Find A Way is indicative of the reconstructed Yes; guitarist Trevor Rabin's song is catchy and even features a harmonica (played by James Zavala), something the band would never even have considered 10 years ago. There are the familiar choral arrangements throughout the album, but they sound particularly pleasing on Final Eyes. Yes's lyrics have always been impossible to interpret and little has changed: "Here is my heart/ Waiting for you/ Here is my soul/ I eat at Chez Nous." The title track is also just a weak reworking of the band's hit from their previous record, Owner of A Lonely Heart, but the other songs are intriguing in their diversity and melodic textures. Jon Anderson's voice can still hit the upper, UPPER registers without sounding too airy. Although they're getting long in the tooth, this band has managed to stay clear of rock's already crowded tar pits. (Atlantic)

From Our Partners