Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Yes: Fragile [Atlantic, 1972]
I certainly prefer Yes's rock-classical synthesis--in which tricky intros, swooping dynamics, and intense textures are integrated into a self-sustaining (and -propelling) electric framework--to ELP's flashy chopsmanship. "Round-About" is a triumph right down to its nature-mystic lyric, the rhythm players each contribute a viable composition, Steve Howe remains a marvel, and even the rearranged Brahms from new keyboard player Rick Wakeman is tolerable. But isn't there supposed to be more to art than great contrivance? B