Yes, “Ritual / Nous Sommes Du Soleil” (1973): YESterdays

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Yes’ sixth studio album, Tales from Topographic Oceans, ends with its most accessible side of music.

“Ritual / Nous Sommes Du Soleil” starts with an energetic chant of Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, combined with a rocking backbeat provided by Alan White. Steve Howe’s playing continues to be stellar, with his volume pedal added lead guitar, but the real stand out is Squire. The late Yes co-founder’s trebly lead bass jumps out of the speakers, propelling the band during the first five minutes.

At the initial break, we hear the “Nous Sommes Du Soleil” theme for the first time from Howe, quickly followed by Anderson as the pace quickens again. Howe renters the picture, intertwining his electric sitar with the Anderson/Squire vocal. After 10 minutes, the 1973 song seems to revisit musical themes, however Anderson’s vocals bring out additional life.

Rick Wakeman’s presence in “Ritual / Nous Sommes Du Soleil” is minimal, with splashes of string synthesizer and Hammond organ. Alan White by contrast adds congas, and various percussion elements, while supplying a rock back beat which is never boring. His solo towards the end of the song, while powerful, adds little to the dynamics of the song.

Indeed, Wakeman may be the only Yes man who doesn’t shine here. The keyboardist’s lack of commitment to the album is partially the reason he decided to the the band after the completion of the Tales from Topographic Oceans tour, clearing the way for the next chapter in Yes’ history as they move on to the innovative Relayer album with Patrick Moraz.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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