Wondering what’s happened to former Yes singer Benoit David? He’s rejoined his old band Mystery, which has now been bolstered by the addition of former Spock’s Beard drummer Nick D’Virgilio.
Mystery, which is rounded out by longtime band leader guitarist/keyboardist Michel St-Pere and bassist Antoine Fafard, is now set to issue its first album since in two years. This is David’s third project with Mystery, following 2007’s Beneath the Veil of Winter’s Face and then One Among the Living in 2010.
[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: As they retake the road, cofounding bassist Chris Squire discusses Yes’ new singer Jon Davison: “He just owns that role.”]
Subsequent to that, David was a member of Yes for two albums — both issued in 2011: the well-received studio album Fly From Here and the concert recording In the Present: Live from Lyon. A rigorous tour through Europe during a brutal winter eventually led to David’s departure. Yes issued a statement stating that David had suffered respiratory failure and was unable to continue on dates scheduled into Australia. He’s since been replaced by Jon Davison, frontman of Glass Hammer, and Yes has resumed touring — with shows continuing now in the U.S.
D’Virgilio, meanwhile, put down his drum tracks at Chemical Sound in Toronto, Ontario. Aside from his lengthy tenure in Spock’s Beard, he also toured with Genesis behind the Calling All Stations album and has done sessions work with Tears for Fears. Farard, a veteran of Spaced Out, is coming off the release of his first-ever solo album, called Solus Operandi.
The World is a Game, available for preorder now at unicornrecords.com/mysterypresale.html, is set for release on August 10, 2012 through the Unicorn and Mystery Web sites — with a street date of September 10 at record stores.
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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Benoit David, Yes and Spock’s Beard. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
YES – FLY FROM HERE (2011): This album is, in many ways, better than it has any right to be. The band even attempts something it hadn’t in decades — a multi-part thematic suite, and to great effect. As always, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White are compact and versatile, expertly facilitating complicated journeys like “Fly From Here Part III: Madman at the Screens,” which switches back and forth from a crunchy stomp to soaring ambiance. And the new singer acquits himself well.
SPOCK’S BEARD – TESTIMONY 2: LIVE IN LOS ANGELES (2011): Morse joined his former band for three cuts found on early releases by Spock’s Beard. Midway through the current band’s reading of “The Light,” Morse bounds out on stage — just in time for “Return of the Catfish Man,” which charges forward with a gothic menace. Spock’s Beard then makes a crystalline transition into “The Dream,” the delicately moving closing segment of Morse’s very first prog composition. (I can’t help but hear, as Morse sings about a dream that can “stand up in the light,” the first inklings of his eventual turn toward praise rock.) “June,” meanwhile, is a gorgeous intertwining of vocal harmonies and guitars — perhaps the most approachable and emotionally available song he ever wrote for the band.
YES – IN THE PRESENT: LIVE FROM LYON (2011): There was at least one benefit to the departure of Jon Anderson from Yes in 2008: The presence of new lead singer Benoit David immediately opened the door for a rewrite of what had become a very rote setlist. David handles things as well as can be expected on the big Anderson-sung hits here — and that’s really all Chris Squire and Co. were looking for, I suppose. You get a broader sense of what he brings to Yes as it stood then, however, on a churning, metallic fever dream like “Machine Messiah.”