It’s a great time to be a Yes fan. Various members of the band’s extended family tree are incredibly busy right now. The band have announced the release of a new album, ‘The Quest’ due in October. In addition, Steve Howe will be releasing ‘Homebrew 7’ – another collection of home demos at the end of July and ex-keyboard player Tony Kaye is getting ready to release his first ever solo album.
It’s a great time to be a Yes fan. Barely a week after the band announced the release of a brand new album (‘The Quest’, due in October), guitarist Steve Howe has confirmed the release of a new volume of ‘Homebrew’, his ongoing series of archive releases.
‘Homebrew 7’ will be released via Cargo Records on July 30th, and will present fans with twenty one unreleased tracks which, as before, range from short instrumental sketches to complete songs. Often a fascinating look into Howe’s working practices, previous releases have given fans the early versions of GTR’s ‘Sketches In The Sun’ and the quirky ‘Bumpy Ride’, later to become an important part of the ‘Fly From Here’ suite. ‘Homebrew 7’ is said to not feature anything that has been issued in a different guise before, nor will it feature stuff that’ll be reworked in future, making it potentially the most vital ‘Homebrew’ to date.
A full press release and track listing can be explored below.
After leaving Yes in 1979 following the tour for their ‘Tormato’ album, Jon Anderson barely rested. Between 1980 and 1982, he split most of his creative time between his own solo projects and collaborations with Greek keyboard virtuoso Vangelis, which brought the vocalist some UK chart success with the commercial new age/synth pop singles ‘I Hear You Now’ and the much-loved ‘I’ll Find My Way Home’. By the summer of 1981 and with the second Jon & Vangelis album ‘The Friends of Mt. Cairo’ having barely hit record shop shelves, Anderson was back in the studio working on the material that was soon to become his third LP ‘Animation’.
Upon release in June 1982, ‘Animation’ was a cult hit among fans, but not especially a commercial success. It marked the first time since the 1960s that Anderson failed to break the top 40 of the UK albums chart, and yielded no hit singles – which might seem weird considering his recent success with Vangelis – but, in all fairness, ‘Animation’ is a really complex animal. On the surface, it’s shiny pop oriented sound and extensive use of the technologies of the era make it appear as if it should’ve been much better received, but closer inspection reveals a sometimes challenging album that often delights in being busy, sometimes for the sake of it, and very occasionally at the expense of obvious hooks. However, it’s one of those albums which, with enough time invested, will eventually present a lot of brilliant material. Some of it is about as singalong as the more excessive bits of ‘Topographic Oceans’, but as is often the case with solo Jon, there’s far more at stake cheeky pop tune.
The 1991 Yes album ‘Union’ is one that very much splits opinion. Rick Wakeman famously nicknamed it ‘Onion’ as it made him cry whenever he heard it, and even from a fan perspective, it never really connected with a strong audience. Those who liked the poppier route Yes had taken in the 80s found musical kinship in the more commercial tracks – like the lead single ‘Lift Me Up’ and Billy Sherwood’s excellent ‘The More We Live – Let Go’ – but didn’t really like the proggier aspects, while the proggy fans welcomed the return of Steve Howe and a few more adventurous bits but still had no time for the pop aspects still present. It was a case of “too many cooks” – the album took in too much variation and enlisted five different producers – and in an attempt to please everyone, almost ended up pleasing no-one.
Following the essential reissue of Jon Anderson’s 1980 solo album ‘Song of Seven’ at the end of 2020, Esoteric Recordings are set to reissue the legendary vocalist’s 1982 album ‘Animation’ with bonus materials in April.