It's always something special when Yes release a new album and the famed prog rockers have given fans another stellar release with Mirror to the Sky. The lineup for the effort is Steve Howe on guitar and many other instruments, Jon Davison on vocals, Geoff Downes on keyboards, Billy Sherwood on bass and, now on drums after the death last year of Alan White, Jay Schellen. An amazing example of modern recording technique, each player recorded their contribution in a different studio. Fans that have been with Yes since their early days will hear familiar sounds on opening number "Cut from the Stars" which has an overall cosmic vibe similar to music found on Close to the Edge and Fragile. While "Cut from the Stars" moves along quickly, "All Connected" is more of a mid-tempo rocker with lots of changes, steel guitar flavorings from Howe, and lyrics about how everyone is connected. "Luminosity" is dreamy and as vibrant as you'd expect from a song of that name, with Davison's vocals sounding particularly elfin as he sings gently about man's relationship to the cosmos in a continuation of the notion explored in "All Connected." "Living out Their Dream" is a rocker as only yes can do them, with Davison and Howe both on lead vocals, Howe playing more steel guitar as well as intricate runs on his Stratocaster, and a tenor that's not unlike music from the band's 90125 era. Title cut "Mirror to the Sky," at 14-minutes the longest cut on the album, is a showcase for the interplay between these consummate musicians with a nice orchestral movement from FAME's Studio Orchestra, an outfit from the Balkans that plays on most of the album. "Circles of Time," a reflection on mortality, is a quiet song focusing on Davison's voice which he uses to create an easy hook that will stay with the listener long after the song finishes. "Circles of Time" finishes the album, sort of; a second CD with three bonus songs is included, all of which find Davison and Howe sharing vocals. "Unknown Place" is a long groove that once again nods to the band's early days, "One Second is Enough" is shorter and radio-ready and about the fleeting nature of happiness while "Magic Potion," also shorter, is another reflection on life that comes to the conclusion that love is the magic potion. Mirror to the Sky is another fine set from the band that remains the premiere act in progressive rock.
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