YES — consisting of Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood — will release its new studio album, "The Quest", on October 1 via InsideOut Music/Sony Music.
Containing 11 songs — eight on the main CD with three extra tracks on a bonus CD — "The Quest" will be available on vinyl and 5.1 Blu-ray and CD, all on the day of release.
The album was produced by Howe, who said: "Much of the music was written in late 2019 with the rest in 2020. We commissioned several orchestrations to augment and enhance the overall sound of these fresh new recordings, hoping that our emphasis on melody, coupled with some expansive instrumental solo breaks, keeps up the momentum for our listeners."
"The Quest" was recorded across the globe. The sessions took place in the U.K. with Howe, Downes and Davison, while White and Sherwood got together in the studio in the U.S. "Billy Sherwood and myself did all the rhythm sections, bass and drum, in America," says White, "down in Los Angeles at Uncle Studios, where he works a lot. It helps when you've got a good place to work," Alan laughs, "and Billy's really good on the recording desk, so we got things down relatively quickly. I spent quite a while studying the music before I went down to L.A. so I was prepared."
YES has revealed the first track to be taken from the album — "The Ice Bridge". Watch the video below.
White comments: "I'm extremely proud to be a part of this music and believe the video graphics are outstanding. A collaboration of many talents coming together to produce 'The Ice Bridge'. I hope our fans/audiences will appreciate the creativity put forward. I'm pleased to share it with the world and hope everyone will enjoy the ride."
Howe adds: "'The Ice Bridge' opens the album in the dark and moody key of C minor, aided by the orchestra. The rolling bass part kicks things into gear as the vocals and guitars start a winding journey through the various structures till the breakdown happens, where ice breaking is heard."
Davison was working with Downes on "The Ice Bridge" (Davison/Downes), looking at the dangers of climate change. He explained how he sets about collaborating with his band mates.
"Usually what happens is each member is left to write their respective parts and put their stamp on things," he says. "Geoff sent me a selection of exciting and often gorgeous snippets he had created and made it clear that he wished I experiment freely and develop as needed. This in turn gave me the confidence to take on the vocal role — lyrics, vocal melody and harmony, how the vocals are presented and uniquely phrased — but all the while striving to stay faithful to Geoff's initial ideas."
"Jon's vocals are fantastic," adds Downes, "He's really come into his own as a YES vocalist. This time he's started to get the writing side together and working with the other musicians has been developmental for him. I think he's hit a rich seam on this one."
"The Quest" is also now available for pre-order on various formats, including a limited deluxe box set that features a gatefold 180g 2LP on exclusive colored vinyl, 2CD+Blu-ray digipak (featuring 5.1 mix and backing tracks), 36-page perfect bound booklet, enamel pin badge, 60x90cm poster, slipmat and hand-numbered certificate of authenticity, all house in a rigid lift-off box.
Containing 11 songs, eight on the main CD with three extra tracks on a bonus CD, "The Quest" will also be available as limited 2CD+Blu-ray artbook, 2CD digipak, gatefold 2LP+2CD and as a digital album.
"The Quest" 2CD digipak track listing:
01. The Ice Bridge 7.01
02. Dare To Know 6.00
03. Minus The Man 5.35
04. Leave Well Alone 8.06
05. The Western Edge 4.26
06. Future Memories 5.08
07. Music To My Ears 4.41
08. A Living Island 6.52
01. Sister Sleeping Soul 4.51
02. Mystery Tour 3.33
03. Damaged World 5.20
The cover artwork was designed and created by the band's longtime collaborator Roger Dean.
For half a century, YES has been the definitive band of the progressive music genre, the band by which all others are judged. Their groundbreaking albums of the 1970s set the standard for the genre and influenced countless others who followed in their wake.
The current lineup of YES was completed in 2015 when Sherwood replaced founder member Chris Squire, at Squire's insistence, as he bravely fought a losing battle with leukaemia. Since then, YES has concentrated on touring with their Album Series tours, each featuring a classic YES album in its entirety. During this period, YES has released three live albums, "Topographic Drama - Live Across America" (2017), "Yes Live 50" (2019) and "The Royal Affair Tour: Live In Las Vegas" (2020).
Contrary to my Foghat (Faux Hat) rant - Yes still seems viable after a life-long morphing line-up that now has them with zero original members. Theirs has been more of an evolution - not an entire different set of players augmenting the original dummer who showed up one summer declaring themselves the authentic item.
Having said all of this, I still wonder why Jon ANDERSON hasn't been brought back into the fold. The new and current Jon (Davison) certainly has the talent and pipes to substitute. The rift between the band and Anderson ... I don't even remember what that was all about. Maybe his own voice has deteriorated?
Having said that, as with the classic line-up (not exactly the originals), I always find myself trying to hear past the elfin vocals and Lord of the Rings lyrics to hear Steve Howe play guitar.
As interesting as this sounds, I don't see myself running out to buy a disc or download. If they tour anywhere within reasonable driving distance, I'd probably show up just to see Steve play.