Yes have revealed plans to release their 22nd studio album, The Quest, on October 1st. It’s their first collection of original songs since 2014’s Heaven and Earth.
“It is simply an honor for me to have the opportunity to bring together the band members in the development of a well-refined set of songs that capture the band’s true potential,” guitarist Steve Howe said in a statement. “Much of the music was written in late 2019 with the rest in 2020. 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.”
The Quest features 11 songs on one disc and three extra tracks on a “bonus disc”; it’ll be released on vinyl, 5.1 Blu-ray, and CD via InsideOutMusic/Sony Music. The cover art was created by artist Roger Dean, whose tenure with Yes dates back to the Seventies and classic albums like Fragile and Tales From Topographic Oceans.
“I am delighted to welcome Yes to the label and am looking forward to seeing the reaction of the band’s fans to the new album,” label manager Thomas Waber said in a statement. “Being a long-time fan myself, I am really excited by the new material. Steve Howe managed to capture many of the important elements that we all love about Yes!”
The seven years since the last Yes album have been an extremely tumultuous and challenging time for the band. Founding bassist Chris Squire died in 2015. He was replaced by Billy Sherwood, who was an additional guitarist for the band in the Nineties. Drummer Alan White, meanwhile, has suffered health issues in recent years that make it impossible for him to play drums for the entire length of a concert. He still tours with the band but is often just onstage for a few songs per night. Jay Schellen handles much of the heavy lifting onstage, and his work is also featured on The Quest.
The band also faced a significant rival on the road when former members Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, and Trevor Rabin began gigging as Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman — and later Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman. They hit many of the same markets as the Steve Howe Yes between 2016 and 2018 but wound up quietly splitting up before they could cut a new album.
The two factions managed to play together when Yes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, but Howe told Rolling Stone in 2020 that fans shouldn’t expect to see that happen again. “I don’t think [the fans] should stay up late nights worrying about that,” he said. “There’s just too much space out there between people. To be in a band together or even to do another tour like [1991’s] Union is completely unthinkable.”
On May 22nd, 2022, Yes are launching an extensive European tour that will feature a complete performance of their 1974 LP Relayer at every show.
The Quest Tracklist
“The Ice Bridge”
“Dare To Know”
“Minus The Man”
“Leave Well Alone”
“The Western Edge”
“Music To My Ears”
“A Living Island”
“Sister Sleeping Soul”