“Retro Resurgence: Trevor Rabin’s ‘Rio’ Album Review”

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After a whopping 30-year wait, fans of Johannesburg legend Trevor Rabin and the iconic band YES are finally treated to a follow-up with full vocals, and it’s a treat that’s well worth the lengthy anticipation.

The album kicks off with “Big Mistakes,” instantly transporting listeners back in time to a proggy brilliance reminiscent of YES’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” era. The return of those distinctive vocal tones is a delight, setting the tone for what’s to come.

“Push” takes a heavier guitar influence and thrusts Trevor into an eclectic frenzy. The intricate guitar plucks and flicks evoke nostalgia for bygone decades, while the vocals continue to shine, making this track a progressive masterpiece with its seamless time changes and tempo manipulations.

The acoustic guitar genius in the intro to “Oklahoma” is a highlight, gradually building into a grand, expansive narrative fit for a cinematic masterpiece like “Lord of the Rings.” As the song progresses, it mellows into a backdrop of drums and slide guitar, crafting a beautifully atmospheric piece that undoubtedly holds a special place in Trevor’s heart.

“Paradise” starts as a rockier number but soon introduces synthesized vocals, transitioning into an almost folkish vibe. It’s catchy, radio-friendly, and exudes a feel-good factor that’s hard to resist.

“Thandi” kicks off with an enigmatic intro that may leave you scratching your head, but as the song unfolds, it seamlessly weaves YES influences with a dash of Utopia, sprinkled with Todd Rundgren’s signature style.

“Goodbye” throws in a curveball with its good ol’ boy southern foot-stomping energy, calling for sipping whiskey and chewing tobacco, a surprising twist in the album’s eclectic journey.

“Tumbleweed” boasts another eccentric opening, layered vocals akin to a 70s game show jingle. This track is a playground for hardcore prog fans, infused with jazzy elements that keep you on your toes.

“These Tears,” a five-minute gem, builds an enchanting atmosphere and stands out as one of the album’s strongest tracks. Its simplicity hides complexity in the way it resonates with listeners, reminiscent of a 1980s Peter Gabriel.

“Egoli” takes flight with simple guitar flicks and keys, maintaining the Gabriel-esque vocal vibe with layered intricacy. This song encapsulates the essence of South Africa, akin to Paul Simon’s homage to the continent, and it’s nothing short of stunning.

In an album filled with celebration and joy, “Toxic” may seem like an odd title choice, but it carries no negativity. It kicks off with excellent bluesy guitars before diving into the well-trodden magic of progressive rock.

“Rio” is an album that many thought would never come, but its arrival is met with elation. It seamlessly fits into Trevor Rabin’s impressive catalogue, leaving long-time fans devoid of disappointment. They’ll play this album until it’s worn out, holding out hope to experience these songs live.

In addition to the main tracklist, the Limited CD+Blu-ray Mediabook & Limited Deluxe Gatefold Red 180g 2LP + Blu-ray versions feature exciting bonus tracks like “Spek & Polly,” “Fragile (Demo),” and “Georgia.”

The full track listing is as follows: Big Mistakes Push Oklahoma Paradise Thandi Goodbye Tumbleweed These Tears Egoli Toxic

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