Yes Releases ‘The Quest,’ 1st Studio Album in 7 Years

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Yes (L-R): Steve Howe, Jon Davison, Billy Sherwood, Alan White, Geoff Downes (Photo © Gottlieb Bros; used with permission)

YES have released their new studio album, The Quest. Watch the videos for “Dare to Know” and “The Ice Bridge,” and listen to many of the tracks below. The Quest, which arrived October 1, 2021, on InsideOutMusic/Sony Music, is their first complete studio work since 2014. The artwork reunites them with their longtime designer, Roger Dean.

Guitarist Steve Howe produced the album. In the original July 7 announcement, he notes, “We commissioned several orchestrations to augment and enhance the overall sound of these fresh new recordings, hoping that our emphasis on melody, coupled with some expansive instrumental solo breaks, keeps up the momentum for our listeners.” Howe is joined by the group’s veteran lineup of drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, lead vocalist Jon Davison and bassist Billy Sherwood. Additional percussion was provided by guest Jay Schellen who supplements YES’ live performances.

The Quest was recorded across the globe. The sessions took place in the U.K. with Howe, Downes and Davison, while White and Sherwood got together in the studio in the U.S. Of note: it’s the first album recorded without Yes founder Chris Squire, who died in 2015.

Watch the video for “Future Memories,” featuring a treasure trove of Dean’s artwork

Steve Howe talks about one of the new songs. “‘Dare to Know’ presents a guitar theme played within many different arrangements, with different chord structures and altered textures. The centerpiece leaves the orchestra alone to elaborate and develop the way the theme is heard, then augments the closing minutes of the song as it rests, with an acoustic guitar cadenza.”

Watch the video for “Dare to Know”

Howe also talks about the first song that was released. “‘The Ice Bridge’ opens the album in the dark and moody key of C minor, aided by the orchestra,” he says. “The rolling bass part kicks things into gear as the vocals and guitars start a winding journey through the various structures till the breakdown happens, where ice breaking is heard.”

Are those first notes an homage to Keith Emerson?

Watch the video for “The Ice Bridge”

The Quest, the prog rock band’s first studio album since 2014’s Heaven and Earth, contains 11 songs, eight on the main CD with 3 extra tracks on a bonus CD. It will also be available on vinyl and 5.1 Blu-ray and CD, and limited edition deluxe 2-LP and 2-CD plus Blu-ray.

As its name implies, the track, “Mystery Tour,” is filled with references to the Beatles.

The current line-up of YES was completed in 2015 when Billy Sherwood replaced founder member Chris Squire, at Squire’s insistence, as he bravely fought a losing battle with leukemia. Since then, YES have concentrated on performing their album series tours, each featuring a classic YES album in its entirety. During this period YES have released three live albums Topographic Drama – Live Across America (2017), Yes Live 50 (2019) and The Royal Affair Tour: Live in Las Vegas (2020).

YES’ Relayer tour has been pushed to 2022 due to the pandemic. Tickets are available here.

The Quest Track Listing

01. The Ice Bridge
02. Dare to Know
03. Minus the Man
04. Leave Well Alone
05. The Western Edge
06. Future Memories
07. Music To My Ears
08. A Living Island

01. Sister Sleeping Soul
02. Mystery Tour
03. Damaged World

Related: Alan White reflects on YES’ 2017 Rock Hall induction

Best Classic Bands Staff

6 Comments so far

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  1. Jay
    #1 Jay 8 July, 2021, 21:07

    Bring in Eddie Offord to produce, and Jon Anderson to sing, and then you have the YES sound.

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  2. Jim
    #2 Jim 25 July, 2021, 01:45

    Brilliant new material from Yes. Their muscular and intricate music lives on. Jon Davison is not Jon Anderson, but he doesn’t need to be. No one can take away his heartfelt vocals on this and other tracks. We are lucky to still have them around in any form in 2021.

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  3. Dadu
    #3 Dadu 3 August, 2021, 01:26

    When you leave out the founder and voice of Yes, out of spite. It becomes an album ny a good cover band.

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  4. Olias
    #4 Olias 11 September, 2021, 19:43

    Downes is the weakest link in this band. Of course Yes is not Yes without Anderson and Wakeman but Downes just can’t play Yes style music. On Drama he was just OK. I saw them in Boca Raton Florida and he started playing something that reminded me of nothing they ever did. Winds up it was the beginning of Awaken. His solos in Roundabout and Close to the Edge are unrecognizable. Steve if you’re too stubborn to admit you need Anderson and Wakeman, at least replace Downes even if he is your friend.

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    • Rama
      Rama 2 October, 2021, 00:51

      Also Steve Howe is quite obviously a master magician on the guitar, however I wish that he would stop singing, it hurts my ears especially in “Music To My Ears”…LOL

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  5. Rama
    #5 Rama 2 October, 2021, 00:42

    I agree. Steve just can’t settle his differences with JON. I spoke with JON at the 1000 Hands Concert in LA which was far better than YES is… He is open to working with Steve and would even share the stage with Jon Davison…..Steve is a real stick in the mud.

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