Gorgeous harmonies, walking bass-lines playing as a lead instrument, symphonic keyboard flourishes, excellent guitar playing, impeccable drumming… Sounds like the band Yes! Sound like GREAT Yes!! I believe that producer Roy Thomas Baker had to be striving for this with the choices made throughout the recording. The band, with their capacity for stellar playing and lush harmonies would have chosen him for this reason alone. He produced early Queen albums, so he knew a few about recording vocals.
Herb Schildt shines on Fountains of Light more than any other Starcastle album and proves himself to be in a class along Wakeman and Emerson without a doubt. Twin-guitarists Stephen Hagler and Matt Stewart lend both a harder edge and more mainstream approach than we’re used to in the band we’re trying to clone here, but it completely works! There are acoustic passages and wah-wah guitar, and power chording, man is this freaking amazing! Terry Lutrell strives to hit the higher notes Jon Anderson does and succeeds. That and the incredible harmonies that at times even recall Queen and Crosby, Stills and Nash make Fountains of Light an essential listen for Yes fans.
The album is divided into two suites that run into one another. The lyrics are as fantastical as many penned by Jon. There does not seem to be a concept running through the record, and I prefer the suite of “True to the Light/Portraits/Diamond Song (Deep Is the Light)” over the first side’s (for you vinyl junkies) “Fountains/Dawning of the Day/Silver Winds.” On the whole, it’s all so tremendously successful in its aim, and the song “Fountains” is especially a gem.
I’l go out on a limb and say this is as good as anything the band Yes was putting out in the latter 70s, and may be as good as some of their classic period. If you think songs like “And You and I,” “Roundabout,” and “I’ve Seen All Good People” are among Yes’ better songs this is definitely the record for you.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on March 27th, 2012