Wheeled out on a disease-infested cart, what remains of the drooping corpse that once was Yes is a firm no for many fans of the once-grand outfit. Mirror to the Sky has beaten its way through the horse, the grease and muck spilling from this horrendous prog-rock plague. Creativity is the burden of the soul but so too is the wallet. What remains of Yes, then? Nobody. No real, original or founding members. Listeners who are keen on Yes, or know of them in distant passing, will likely tell the difference between the finest moments and Mirror to the Sky almost immediately. Like letting artificial intelligence bring back James Dean, Yes replicate the past by heaving blinkered life into the former, functioning outfit.
But those ill-fitting suits are not long for this world and last less time than that on the ears of their staggered, dwindling listeners. Mirror to the Sky is as meaningless and broad as the tracks within, a status of chancing and derivative moments. Whining guitar work on All Connected is as ironic as it gets, showcasing the disconnect of their flat and aged appeal. Staggered and lengthy tracks provide Yes with a disconnect. Always out of reach is their move to the next stage. Where they, like fellow modern prog-rock failures Jethro Tull, fail to move is in their message and tone. Their listeners are moving on, and so too must the band. Mirror to the Sky is an essential failure which still finds wonder in flying across the stars, as though every billionaire out there is not setting out to prove it is miserable. Music of this style, inevitably, sounds as though it could soundtrack Dreamcast exclusives.
Luckily for Yes they maintain a steady and acceptable quality for much of Mirror to the Sky. Nothing but hopeless attempts at capturing the success of a band who they share only a name with now. Luminosity is about as good as it gets, more for the placidity of the guitar work within than anything else accomplished. Enjoy those acceptable instrumentals, and eventually the vocals from Jon Davison strike-through, the Sam Ryder of the United States. Prepare for the long haul. An hour of this and little difference between it all means Mirror to the Sky, its title track included, is as sloppy and moderately poor in symphonic structure as it gets. Mirror to the Sky can never quite convince of its style and as such becomes a chore to listen to. Unknown Place? Absolutely unknowable. Yes are hollow now.
An excuse to drag out guitar solos, dullard lyrics and a snoozefest feature which takes to the stars and loses its atmosphere almost immediately. Should Yes have looked in the mirror as they crafted this latest album, they would surely be ashamed. Yes in this form has too much respect for the longevity of prog-rock and refuses to shake it up. Lengthy tracks with no end in sight, no reasonable merit to them, on and on they go. One Second Is Enough and Magic Potion are cursed, the latter album creations which highlight the problem in bulk. It is not that Yes cannot create interesting instrumentals, it is just they are driven by the same principles of group members who are no longer in the band. Caricatures take up their place, a misfit bunch who play pretend and make the musical equivalent of attempting a Weekend at Bernie’s skit. The lights are on, nobody is home.