Fireworks

Jon Anderson - 'Survival And Other Stories' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/67/8a/6d/1627_jonandersonsurvivalandotherstories_1317150180.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 27, 2011    
 
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Solo album by former Yes singer Jon Anderson.

It is amazing how often it seems to work out that a band member who is "asked to leave" his day-job manages to rustle up an album just in time to go up against his previous band mates. Now I'm not saying that has been a deliberate decision from the rather unceremoniously removed former Yes singer Jon Anderson, however whatever way you look at it, people will compare the two. To be fair I doubt that Anderson would ever have actually wanted to produce an album to rival the rather ordinary 'Time Will Fly' from Yes, instead choosing to plough an altogether simpler, starker and more organic field. For anyone who has followed Anderson's work outside of Yes, the (considering his health, voice and band problems of recent years) aptly titled 'Survival & Other Stories' album will come with few surprises, although most importantly that doesn't adversely effect the quality of the music involved.

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The album itself is made of songs that Jon spent hours trawling through after "advertising" on his web site for musicians to collaborate with over the internet, with the eleven tracks all sounding remarkably cohesive and indeed Jon Anderson like. As ever Anderson also brings his remarkably positive world outlook to both the music and lyrics, with this set of semi-acoustic songs being wonderfully airy and bright and whether you buy into the lyrics or not, there can be no denying that the end results are uplifting. Invariably anything that has the voice of Jon Anderson on it will remind of Yes (which is probably why a Yes tribute singer was the only person who could effectively replace him in that band), however in terms of musical structure and the overall emotional feel of 'Survival & Other Stories', I was more often whisked away to Anderson's latter solo work, or even his recordings with Greek synth maestro Vangelis. More than ever that unmistakable voice is the star and focal point of this album, with most of the songs leaving a lot of space for the vocal to dominate, but in an easy and never over bearing manner. Due to this the songs are often rather hypnotic and while the whole album is a decidedly low key affair, it certainly doesn't lack for impact, both in terms of the scope of the songs and the stunningly strong sound of the music which was produced by Jon alongside his wife Jane. 

It may well provoke considerably less internet debate, or media coverage, however I can't help but think that in the long run I am more likely to still be listening to the beautiful and unforced strains of 'Survival & Other Stories' than the new effort to come from the Yes camp.

Steven Reid

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