For former giants of progressive rock, Yes have created an album that is disappointingly un-progressive.
Sure, Yes has ventured into pop territory before in order to stay afloat, but they’ve managed to keep it interesting. Heaven and Earth is restrained, satisfied and simple-words that one would never associate with the band back in their heydey.
Nonetheless, the songs are, for lack of a better world, pretty. Bouncing along with a little shimmer and angelic vocals, the songs are a kind of ethereal pop for a mature audience. “To Ascend”, a classic piano acoustic combo with little embellishment, exemplifies this: beautiful but boring, with empty space where 70s Yes would have inserted a mini-symphony. This is a sunny-afternoon-background-music kind of album, with little experimental weirdness to be found until the last song. “Subway Walls” begins with a darker tinge and the band shifts around and eventually jams in a small instrumental section, leaving us with the glimmer of hope that there’s still some magic there.