I love the Ladder, it has both truly classic Yes moments, as in Homeworld and New Language, and songs that really should have been radio hits, especially Lightning Strikes. Although panned by many, I think Lightning Strikes has all the energy of early Yes with a dash of world music, all in a radio-friendly short format. It was what Teakbois could have been but failed miserably to achieve. I could see Lightning Strikes being played in sports stadiums to whip up the fan energy. The take-off of We Have Heaven that follows is a nice touch. The ode to Bob Marley, the Messenger, has a great bassline, and It Will Be a Good Day always makes me feel good. The Ladder was much closer than anything YesWest ever did in creating an updated Yes sound that did not ignore the classic roots. It was truly a progession. It was even marketed with a game, a move that would have deemed brilliant had it succeeded. But alas, it did not and the disc was quickly forgotten. I can see how this, and the subsequent failure of Magnification to make any headway in the music industry, would be so heartbreaking and discouraging to the band.
I do like Talk very much, and agree Endless Dream is the closest YesWest ever came to a true Yes classic. Warts and all, it is perhaps the ulimate synthesis of YesWest and classic Yes.