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Yes - Yes CD (album) cover

YES

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.25 | 1303 ratings

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Replayer
3 stars Yes' eponymous debut album is a competent one and already lays the foundation of the band's future progressive sound. The music is strongly influenced by the Beatles and psychedelic rock. Aside from Bill Bruford's co-writing credit on Harold Land, Jon Anderson and Chris Squire are the only band members who write original songs. Though Peter Banks and Tony Kaye would be overshadowed by their future replacements, they both do a fine job on guitar and keys, respectively.

Beyond and Before is a strong opener and my favorite song on the album. It is one of the album's most uptempo numbers and the entire band is in excellent form, with outstanding performances by Squire and Banks. Its rather abstract and psychedelic-tingedlyrics are a taste of things to come on future Yes albums.

Clocking at almost seven minutes, the second song is the album's longest track, a jazzy cover of the Byrds' I See You, which I prefer to the original. I really enjoy Bruford's drumming here and Peter Banks also has competent, but restrained, jazzy solo passages. The band expands on the song, making it more than twice as long, and leaves its mark on it. The album contains an additional cover, the Beatles' Every Little Thing. This song is also reworked and expanded, with two minute-long progressive introduction, with fantastic playing by Squire, Banks and Bruford.

Yesterday and Today has a pastoral mood. The song features a different instrumentation than the rest of the album: Tony Kaye plays piano, Bruford plays vibraphone, and Banks mainly plays acoustic guitar. The wistful mood and title remind me of The Beatles' Yesterday.

Looking Around gives Kaye a chance to shine, as this is an up-tempo organ-driven song. Harold Land features good progressive introduction and excellent vocal harmonies. Sweetness is another laid back number. I like Squire's wah-wah effect and Bank's cello-like guitar tone. They both also provide good harmony vocals. Survival is another mini-epic, with wah-wah bass and cello-guitar. It also starts the band's tradition of Anderson singing harmony with himself.

I wouldn't call the album strictly necessary but I think it's very worthwhile for those interested in how the band's sound evolved over the course of just a couple of years. There are no weak songs here and musicianship is very good throughout.

Replayer | 3/5 |

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