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Talent still there; direction missing

By Jon Anderson

Ellipsis Arts: 1997

This review first appeared in the August 30, 1997 edition of the American Reporter.

Perhaps it's the respect we feel for his ongoing work with progressive-rockers Yes, but Jon Anderson's latest solo effort is, at times, painful to listen to.

Not that the music is bad; some of it is quite catchy, and much is reminiscent of Yes (for whom Anderson was one of the primary composers as well as lead singer). It's just that the liner notes and packaging – not to mention the lyrics – are too often so darn earnest, so eager to make some kind of statement or other. And what that statement might be – other than nature is good – never really crystallizes.

Kind of like a lot of other ex-hippies from the '60s, Anderson seems unfulfilled, lost, and that can't help but come across in his music.

And so we have aimless feel-good music; songs without direction or focus, either topically or musically. We get nature worship, we get "Scraggle Cat" and "Puss Cat Willum" credited for "Meows" on the artist roster (along with "Handsome Boy and his Pals" for "birdsinging").

A lot of yuch, quite frankly.

Still, many of the songs are lovely and intricate in their composition. Anderson's own acoustic guitar playing is beautifully simple, and if you like his voice then his singing has changed little from his glory days with Yes.

Anderson has lost not his talent, but his direction. Given the evidence of creativity on this disc, we can only hope that sense of direction returns.