Many call Yes' brand of progressive rock "symphonic rock." The term means that the group produces arrangements in the vein of a symphony using typical rock instrumentation. With Magnification, Yes has taken that a step further, adding a symphony orchestra. The orchestra is not simply thrown over the top, though; the songs were written for this particular grouping. Yes has flirted with this type of thing before. Released in 1970, the Time and a Word album featured a string section, but the complete integration is what makes Magnification a superior work. The material on the CD is pretty standard modern Yes fare, but the addition of that symphony really does create a whole new texture. It also seems as if it inspired the band, and some members put in performances that are head and shoulders above their recent work. The album does have its weak moments and gets just a little over the top at times, but there are a lot more moments that shine than dull ones.
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AllMusic Review by Gary Hill