The 2nd YES album to featured Jon Davison on vocals. I never did give it’s predecessor much of a chance [but have picked it up while enjoying this new one]. The 2nd video released “Future Memories” I really liked right away, and that got my interest. It is still the stand out song here, for me, a classic Yes ballad, and if the band ends tomorrow Jon Davison will have left an amazing mark with this one. Lead off track / video “The Ice Bridge” is a strong track as well, love Geoff Downes bright keyboards throughout this number, with the intro briefly reminiscent of ELP, and elsewhere this song reminds me a bit of Saga, and love Steve Howe’s riff and solo. Davison and Billy Sherwood co-write and share vocals on the upbeat “The Western Edge”. Though much of this album is near ballads or acoustic numbers, it is a pretty uplifting set of songs, as The Quest according to guitarist and producer Steve Howe – “The Quest is a strong album with a common theme: posing the great questions of life and finding that we have our destiny within our own hands.” The band also pays tribute to The Beatles in the track “Mystery Tour”. YES also pays homage to their won past according to Geoff Downes – “There’s a lot of retro sounds, reminiscent of some of the early Yes recordings. I was really a big fan of Tony Kaye, his style of Hammond playing, and even going back to the Drama album, the basic keyboard instruments – like the Hammond organ and acoustic piano – have really come out on this album..” The album also includes orchestra on a couple of tracks – Howe’s “Dare To Know” – “I wanted to augment what Yes does – To have something as beautiful as an orchestra was really appealing, and that was done remotely in Macedonia. Paul K. Joyce did the arranging for me.” The orchestra was also used on the Davison / Sherwood track “Minus The Man”. Howe’s “Leave Well Alone” is an epic Yes tune with a classy mix of vocals, and plenty of changes, and I’m pretty sure I hear a nod to “Starship Trooper” later on in.
As I’ve said previously, I never was a huge Yes fan, and post 90125 albums were hit and miss with me, but I did like The Ladder, and going back recently [upon hearing this] really liked Fly From Here, so I will put The Quest up there as my next favorite Yes album, despite being fairly laid-back, overall. There are a few songs that have jumped out at me, and there is lots to still get in to here. For all that’s been said of the line-up being without a few founding members, I am quite happy with this and look forward to more.
The Quest comes in various formats, colored vinyl, a box set… Beautifully packaged in Roger Dean artwork again.