All the worst has been said about Yes' "Tales from Topographic Oceans" double album. Nonetheless, I still love this suite, the first one out of four in the set. Of course, after such masterpieces as "Close to The Edge" or "Fragile", the band couldn't possibly do better music, but here they were once again at their best, full of ideas, good melodies, varied arrangements and assorted visions. Jon Anderson's lyrics are weirdest than usual, but his voice is perfect, and so is the wall of sound provided by the rest of the band. The choral passages are fascinating, IMHO, and when they sing "What happened to wonders we once knew so well" I can actually see the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and all the jewels of our planet before my very eyes.
...And thanks to Roger Dean, as usual.
And Howe's guitar soon translates all this in a dynamic musical progression, while Squire's bass never takes a rest. And when you begin to wonder where Rick Wakeman is, here come his piano and keys to join the feast. The rare down tempo movements are also very good, with a nacturnal acoustic guitar singing to the rising moon. Yes, I'll definitely ignore the fashionable reviewers' pieces of advice and I'll listen to this song once more. A deadly sin?