78046-2 The Ladder
Produced by Bruce Fairbairn
Released on September 28, 1999
US CHART POSITION #99
Find it at GEMM
78046-2 cover  

P ossessing the keys to ascension is one thing, but to take that next step toward the celestial music of old you'll need The Ladder. It’s made perfectly, wonderfully, astrally plain on the opening “Homeworld (The Ladder),” which stirs the stagnant can of brain paint and reveals swirling colors not seen since “Going For The One.” The Ladder doesn’t reach any higher than this, but it ascends the steps again on “Face To Face” and the splendid succession of “To Be Alive (Hep Yadda),” “Finally” and “The Messenger.” The songs are credited to the band, and in fact are pastiches of ideas from everyone; you can hear where some elements are pure Jon Anderson and others originate from Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood. The same thing occurred on Union but never melded so well. The Ladder, by contrast, is the sum of its parts, a junction where six members arrive after six different journeys. I haven’t enjoyed a Yes album this much since Union, Big Generator, 90125 or (dare I say it?) Going For The One. Somehow, the Yes that featured Sherwood and Igor Koroshev was able to tap into the original magic more easily than ABWH (just compare “Lightning Strikes” to “Teakbois”). As with that album (and in fact many of their albums without Trevor Rabin), Jon Anderson’s personality is stamped all over the material, from a reprise of “We Have Heaven” on “Can I?” to songs like “If Only You Knew” and sections of “New Language” that are undiluted Jon for better or worse. But The Ladder is a shared triumph, from Chris Squire’s familiar bass lines to plucky guitar parts from Billy Sherwood to the lively drum parts from Alan White (some of his best work in years). Igor Koroshev also shows himself a great student of Rick Wakeman, weaving all sorts of wonderfully subtle sounds into the great tapestry. Steve Howe is given less of the limelight than usual, but we’ll call it deference in the mix to his talented bandmates. If you wonder whether the new Yes can recapture the magic of the old Yes, look up The Ladder, and look forward to Yes all over again.

78046-2 inner gatefold
78046-2 inner gatefold

TRACK LISTING

  1. HOMEWORLD (THE LADDER)    9:33
  2. IT WILL BE A GOOD DAY (THE RIVER)    4:53
  3. LIGHTNING STRIKES    4:34
  4. CAN I?    1:32
  5. FACE TO FACE    5:03
  6. IF ONLY YOU KNEW    5:42
  7. TO BE ALIVE (HEP YADDA)    5:07
  8. FINALLY    6:01
  9. THE MESSENGER    5:13
  10. NEW LANGUAGE    9:19
  11. NINE VOICES (LONGWALKER)    3:20

    All songs written by Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Billy Sherwood, Chris Squire, Alan White and Igor Koroshev. Lyrics by Jon Anderson.

CREDITS

JON ANDERSON -- lead vocals
STEVE HOWE -- lead and acoustic guitars, steel, mandolin and vocals
IGOR KOROSHEV -- keyboards anf vocals
BILLY SHERWOOD -- guitars and vocals
CHRIS SQUIRE -- bass guitars and vocals
ALAN WHITE -- drums, percussion and vocals
Rhys Fulber -- dance loops
The Marguerita Horns -- horn section (3)
  Derry Burns -- trumpet
  Tom Colclough -- alto sax
  Tom Keenlyside -- piccolo and tenor sax
  Rod Murray -- trombone
  Neil Nicholson -- tuba
Randy Raine-Reusch -- world instruments
Mike Plotnikoff -- engineer, mixing
Steve Hennessy -- track chart artwork
Roger Dean -- painting, logos and lettering
Martyn Dean -- design

return to YES discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/GER September 1999 Eagle Rock 2LP/CD/CS EDG12/EAGCD 088 gatefold cover
US September 28, 1999 Beyond CD/CS 78046 picture sleeve
ARG/BRA 1999 Sum Records CD 006377  
JPN 1999 Victor CDX VIZP-6 w. bonus CD single

 

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