ONCE EMBLEMATIC of bloated British pomp-rock, Yes made a surprisingly successful early '80s comeback with "90125."
Like its title, the record's sound was uncharacteristically lean, in large part thanks to the technocratic cut-ups of briefly white-hot producer Trevor Horn. In the four years the quintet has taken to record the followup "Big Generator", however, Horn (originally the sole supervisor) has fallen to fourth on the list of producers, after Yes itself, Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin and engineer Paul De Villiers.
The prominence of the serial number on the cover suggests that this is "90125 II," but the music says otherwise. The Yes-men are more inclined to pillage early hits like "Roundabout" than return to the epic suites of their double-album period. But either way this is stale stuff, which explains the commercial shortfall of the album's would-be hit, "Love Will Find a Way." A little of Horn's cut-and-splice style comes through on the vaguely funky title song; but on tracks like "Holy Lamb (Song for the Holy Convergence)" and "I'm Running," which mixes Rabin's trademark guitar filigrees with a chirpy Up With People-style chorus, the bloat is definitely back.
"Big Generator" (Atlantic 90522-1). Appearing Sunday at the Capital Centre.