Shorn of Jon Anderson's touchy-feely New Age sensibilities and Rick Wakeman's camp, operatic flourishes, this incarnation of Yes were a leaner, meaner machine altogether. Drama
(1980) was the last Yes album and last line-up change before their split and subsequent resurrection as a bland transatlantic MOR outfit (remember 90125
and "Owner Of A Lonely Heart"?). New singer Trevor Horn brings to the party both fellow ex-Buggle Geoff Downes on keyboards and--equally important--his extraordinary talent as a producer. The album remains a model of recording clarity: every note, every carefully honed nuance is captured in clinical detail. And that's exactly why Drama
has sometimes been written off as uninvolving. In truth, it's a muso's album par excellence
: marvel at the shifting time signatures, gasp at the dizzying key changes, thrill as intertwining instruments weave ever more complex tapestries of sound. It's that kind of album. Maybe emotionally it leaves many listeners high and dry, but as a masterclass in virtuoso rock musicianship it's thrilling. --Mark Walker
No Wakeman or Anderson on this 1980 LP, which still hit #18! This hard-rocker featuring Tempus Fugit now has 10 bonus cuts including unissued single versions and tracking sessions.