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10.11.11

Yes - 'In The Present - Live In Lyon' (frontiers records) 5/5

Classic Prog Rockers Yes have been staging a bit of a revival recently, with a new vocalist on board in the shape of Mystery front man Benoit David, the return of Drama era keys-man Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn back at the production hem, they have already hit us this year with the remarkable and fresh sounding Fly From Here studio opus, and now we have this live set to fan flames of revival.

Ok before you mail in saying as such I will say that the line up here differs a tad from the Fly From Here album in as much as the keys here are played by Oliver Wakeman, (son of Rick) and I will point out that performances on this album date from late 2009, before work on the Fly From Here album started.

Gotta say that from the off I'm liking this lots. First up I'm loving the set on offer; we get stuff from Time And A Word (Astral Traveler), The Yes Album (I've Seen All Good People & Starship Trooper), Fragile (Roundabout & Southside Of the Sky), Close To The Edge (And You And I & Siberian Khatru)... etc, even 90125 is represented by Owner Of A Lonely Heart (natch), but there are some suprises on offer as well in form of Onward from the much maligned Tormato and a brace of cuts (Machine Messiah & Tempus Fugit) from my fave Yes album - Drama.

Benoit Davids vocals are superb, he takes all that Anderson era Aled Jones stuff in his stride, and breathes new life into these old classics. As for the rest of the band - well when your talking about the likes of Steve Howe, one of the three Steve H's (along with Hackett and Hillage), on the guitar, Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on the kit you know your in for a as near as flawless performance as can be expected. Add in Oliver Wakeman who besides being a chip off the old block has previously cut his teeth working along side the likes of Clive Nolan from Arena and played along side the likes of Magnums Bob Catley, and you have a great line up, capable of playing classic tracks with a vibe and energy that makes them sound like brand new material.

This is indeed a band reborn, and coming on the heals of the excellent Fly From Here we can be left in mo doubt Yes are back, they mean business and they are here to stay.

(And finally my take on the whole Anderson vs David debate. Personally I have found the last few albums from the Jon Anderson fronted Yes had been lacking in both life and direction, almost like Yes had become the Jon Anderson band. To be honest I had never really been that much of a Jon Anderson fan anyway, all those 'own backside inspecting' lyrics and that castrati style everything in the top register vocals often did as much to turn me off Yes as Mr's Howe, Wakeman and Squire etc did to attract me. But Mr Davids vocals are to me a real treat, ok he's got the Jon Anderson register, but his voice is more human, it has the hint of Geddy Lee about it and none of the shriek Mr Anderson used to produce when he leant on it, and to all the detractors who are claiming all this 'no Yes without Jon Anderson' crap, all I can say is wash yer ears out, get over yourselves and move on. Jon was good Benoit is better, End of.)

Superb, buy it and love it forever!!

For fans of... King Crimson, Mystery, Opeth, Pallas....

Lehmon - 'Sampler EP' (self released) 4.5/5

Oooo this is a good 'un. Lehmon are a two piece project from Paris over there in France that consists of Walter Monnen and Michele Leonor and they claim to be inspired by everything from modern pop and rock through to various European and Middle Eastern folk traditions. Their debut album 'Golden Mountains and Dark Valley's' is due out early next year but they have just put out this four track sampler ep to give the world an idea of what to expect.

Now I do like acts that know how to mix their sounds and influences up a bit, and thus I am finding this four tracker a very compelling listen. We have alsorts on offer here; A Hundred Centuries is a bit of psychedelic weirdness that comes over like maybe a tuneful Tom Waites or possibly Alien Sex Fiend stripped of the gothic trappings, Crepuscular Dream is a glorious slice of light weight post gothic darkness that sounds like a bit of sound trackage from a Tim Burton animation, I Need to Love You is a Krankshaft like helping of acid pop ballad weirdness and That's All is a plaintiff duet that could be part of the sound track to an ultra left field stage musical - all pit orchestra and soft shoe shuffle slow dance beats. Add in some very engaging tongue firmly in cheek lyrics, some superb vocal and instrumental performances and some attentive production and you have here a cracking ep that leaves the listener hungry from the full album. All very very good stuff indeed.

Until this arrived Lehmon were completely new to me, but I'm now a bit of a fan and I'll be following their progress very closely from now on.

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For Fans of - Krankshaft, Tom Waites, Rocky Horror Show, The Enid, Bauhaus......