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    Yes vs Circa

    Having listened to FFH, H&E and now the Quest, I still think Circa's first album for me, rates better than any of these releases- I do love FFH, very pastorale, but I just hear so much more Yes on Circa's first album than what we have got from any Yes.releases over the past 10-15 years. Had Yes done Cut the Ties, Brotherhood of Man etc- mind you- Jimmy Haun, plays so close to Steve's style Im not sure we would have noticed a difference, given we have Tony , the original Yes keys man, and Alan, its really only the vocals that dont make this a Yes Album. Had John sang in it, and as I recall, that was Billy's original idea- get a "family" of ex-yes people together on an album, it would overshadow the Yes albums sans Jon. Again I do find something on all of them, most of FFH, less so on TQ, and just SWs on H&E. I tend to think we wont get another great Yes album- we will get another 1-2 nice albums - unless Billy is given a bigger songwriting role, or if ARW are motivated enough to do something to respond to TQ- I still say Fragile Touch is better than anything that I've heard on H&E and TQ- but thats just IMHO- we are all allowed that!

    #2
    Circa sound pretty MOR to me, but then so do ARW and recent Yes albums. I did, however, love the Circa Yes medley they did. I think you're right though, we won't get another great Yes album

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      #3
      Okay, let’s try to make this as objectively as I can...

      Circa: (first album) 6/10. 5 stand out tracks, good playing throughout.

      FFH 8/10. I like nearly all of the tracks. Good playing, few great solos and such.

      H&E 4/10. Terrible songs, lifeless playing. The 2.5 great songs can’t lift it up.

      TQ 6/10. Nice songs, except a few. Bloated and padded. Playing is adequate at best.

      So even if Circa and TQ are very different, I get the same overall rating.

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        #4
        I really liked the first Circa: (remember the colon symbol?) album a lot when it was released, but haven't listened to it for a long time. I'd definitely rate Fly From Here well above it, H&E well below it, and my jury is still out re: The Quest.
        Jeff Tiberius Grey Wolf
        My hovercraft is full of eels

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          #5
          Circa is good but I definitely prefer Yes by a fair margin overall, H and E excepted over the past ten years. I do think Billy can add a lot to the songwriting in Yes moving forward of course, he's highly talented, I love his contributions to the Quest, but an album with more of his involvement has the potential to be the shift in sound many Yesfans (not necessarily me, as I love the Quest) are needing.
          The Definitive YES Albums

          -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
          -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
          -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

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            #6
            Originally posted by soundchaser09 View Post
            Circa is good but I definitely prefer Yes by a fair margin overall, H and E excepted over the past ten years. I do think Billy can add a lot to the songwriting in Yes moving forward of course, he's highly talented, I love his contributions to the Quest, but an album with more of his involvement has the potential to be the shift in sound many Yesfans (not necessarily me, as I love the Quest) are needing.
            Remember that the first CIRCA: album had some old Trevor Rabin ideas in the writing, and Kaye co-wrote. Haun and White have co-writing credits too, although it's unclear how much they did. So it's not just about Sherwood's writing.

            There was also something of a drop off in quality with later CIRCA: albums, until Valley.

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              #7
              My temptation would be to rank Circa: (Self-titled album) above The Quest and Heaven & Earth, but below Fly From Here. However, I have a hard time really doing that definitively. I think I am so emotionally invested in Yes and it's catalog that it really does matter to me what name is on the album (There are other groups where the same is true.). I actually prefer Billy Sherwood's voice to Jon Davison's in many instances (Depends on the song, really), but because Jon has been Yes' lead singer and Billy hasn't (Plus, Jon fits the template of a Yes lead singer), when Jon sings lead it sounds more like Yes to me, even if we go label-free. There are also songs that I think maybe transcend the albums on some of those Yes releases- "The Ice Bridge" is, I feel like, unless these later Yes albums are simply forgotten or footnotes to later Yes fans (Which is entirely possible- it may come down to what's on the streaming services and what isn't, if such services continue to dominate in the decades to come.), going to wind up more and more being thought of as a classic Yes song as time goes by- a lot of the right elements are there. It wears well.

              However, Circa: is also independently one of my favorite bands, and I think it's almost criminally underrated. Some of those songs on that first album like "Together We Are", "Brotherhood of Man", and "Cut the Ties" are awesome. In fact, if anyone doesn't have the patience to listen to the whole album, just check out those three songs- a love song, a prog song, and a rock song. Of course, those are just my favorite songs from that album- some people like stuff like "Information Overload" better.

              People also tend to underrate, including not having ever heard or not knowing they exist, the rest of Circa:'s catalog IMO. HQ is a very good group of songs that include some personal favorites like "Remember Along the Way" and "Chasing After Ghosts". Overflow (It's arguable as to whether this is a proper album release or not as it is essentially a compilation of songs that just missed being on their first two albums) has "Shifting Sands" and "Fate and Destiny". And So On has the title track, "Cast Away", and "Halfway Home". Valley of the Windmill has "SIlent Resolve" and "Valley of the Windmill".

              I agree with Henry that Circa: and Valley of the Windmill are the band's best two albums to date, which is more or less the concensus, but I think I appreciate the middle albums more than most observers do, even though we might rank them in the same order. I don't think Circa: has really put out a bad album. In fact, I would go so far as to say that though I have a high opinion of Valley of the Windmill, I would like to see Circa: return to the format of previous releases and include more 3-10 minute songs. Valley feels a little bit like Tales from the Topographic Oceans to me in that the band made a strong album that proved they could do all long form, but where, having done it, it would be good in my view to move on rather than to adopt that as a permanent format.

              While Circa: clearly draws on the concept of ex-Yes and Yes-related musicians forming a band, and is similar enough musically that it's a natural for Yes fans to branch out into, I think it's distinctive enough that it's hard to toss their albums in with Yes albums and start ranking. It's enough of it's own thing that that's hard for me to do. I tend to think of it in independent enough terms that I'd just rank Circa: albums against themselves, personally.
              Last edited by downbyariver; 01-17-2022, 10:45 PM.
              "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

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                #8
                I've listened to the first Circa album at least twice, maybe more, back when I was working, and walking into and back from the workplace. I was never able to enthuse about it; it sounds like formulaic mainstream American rock. Nicely played and all that, but nothing more. It's ballsier than the last two Yes albums, last three probably, but musically generic MOR, and quite dull.
                Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
                Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

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                  #9
                  The first Circa album came out during a time when Yes were creatively inactive and were formed to fill a void. It's very much part of the Yes Expanded Universe, and ticks a lot of boxes for me. I saw Circa in Virginia the summer after the album was released, and they did the whole album live, followed by the 45-minute Yes legacy medley. Smiles all around. Tony Kaye more than competently handled keyboard sections he wasn't originally a part of, like South Side Of The Sky. But even then I didn't compare it to Yes themselves, and don't consider it a Yes-album-in-all-but-name, like Fish Out Of Water or ABWH. But I like it immensely and it's one of the better spin-off projects in the Yes Cinematic Universe.

                  The last album, Valley Of The Windmill was equally strong and I love that one as well, but the middle two are merely ok and suffer from samey-ness and are closer to Billy Sherwood's solo material from the same era - especially And So On (2011), where I believe it's mostly Billy performing everything as Circa. And if he's not, it sure could have fooled me. As for Overflow, it was originally a download only 35-minute EP, but I count it as a full release, all it needs are two more songs. I like Overflow third, even over HQ and And So On. Circa are their own thing, I agree. In the absence of a Yes album, I'll take a Circa one - unless ARW decides to do something.

                  I happily await further activity from Circa, and yes - i agree that Billy needs to be given a bigger songwriting role and should be doing most of the harmonies the way Chris was. He's supposed to be the new Chris, and I think Steve Howe may be a little overzealous with his own background vocals. He was always third in the 3-way vox harmonies but these days he is keen to be second in command of the vocals. So, more Billy on a new Yes album if there is a next Yes album - but not so much that it becomes Circa or Citizen. Yes will be Yes and Circa can remain Circa, and I'll listen to both.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
                    And So On (2011), where I believe it's mostly Billy performing everything as Circa.
                    i think the Circa: lineup for And So On was-

                    Billy Sherwood- Lead vocals and bass guitar
                    Tony Kaye- Keyboards
                    Johnny Bruhns- Lead guitar
                    Ronnie Ciago- Drums

                    Johnny Bruhns actually did a show with enoesque 's Yes tribute band, Total Mass Retain, earlier this month, and I think Eno mentioned the possibility of him doing some more gigs with them.

                    As far as Circa: goes, however, major changes were made between that album and the next, with Billy becoming the lead guitarist, Rick Tierney joining the band as it's new bass player, and Scoff Connor taking over on the drums.

                    The two big mainstays of Circa: over the years have been Billy Sherwood and Tony Kaye, but each album had clearcut lineup where each position in the band was filled by someone on each album. Obviously, as a talented multinstrumentalist who writes and produces his own stuff, it's always possible that Billy does more than he says he does, but taking things at face value, he saves the doing everything himself thing for the solo records.
                    Last edited by downbyariver; 01-18-2022, 09:50 AM.
                    "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

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