Is there such a thing as the ultimate prog album? Now there’s a lengthy, inconclusive debate in itself. But New Yorker Will Romano does a cogent job in presenting the case for Close To The Edge.
Naturally, he goes into massive detail on every aspect of this record, including the background of the musicians involved, also providing a historical perspective of the era. If you’re after an in-depth analysis of Yes’ celebrated fifth album, then this admirably suits the purpose. Romano is adept at getting to the nub of Anderson’s lyrical inspirations, and explaining the clever wordplay on Siberian Khatru – if you don’t already know what it is, you’ll find out now. But in doing so, the author ensures the creative awareness that led to the recording of this album is never overlooked. He is clearly a fan – his first taste of Yes was a 45 of Roundabout, given to him by his uncle – and never lets intellectual observation cloud his love for the music. With first-hand references from key personnel such as Anderson, Wakeman and engineer Eddy Offord, its 288 pages – including a centre 12 pages of photos, but a surprising lack of the album’s feted visuals – reinforce the claim for this being the defining record in prog history.