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Yes - Time and a Word CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.32 | 1449 ratings

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3 stars After an acceptable but irrelevant debut, YES had to release a really strong album in order to stay in the eye of the storm and to resist comparisons with icons such as KING CRIMSON, so the band hired an orchestra and recorded the more ambitious "Time and a Word".

Nobody can deny that the album is a healthy leap from their modest self titled release, but still weak in comparison of records released the same year like "ELP" or Trespass", which were far ahead in creativity, originality and complexity. Despite this fact, "Time and a Word" is a pretty good album with some outstanding moments bit others weak and even far bellow the average.

The pompous "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" opens the album, which I believe is a mistake, being that the track is a cover version of Ritchie Havens song, combined with Jerome Moross' soundtrack for "The Big Country", and a band that pretends to be one of the leaders of a recently born movement can't rely so much in covers (Their previous album already had two), doesn't matter how good they can be.

Of course the arrangements are original, even the usually annoying Anderson's vocals sound great, the only problem lies in the terrible and out of tune backing vocals (something unusual with Squire in the band)

The orchestral mixture makes the track stronger, but still I can't stop imagining Gregory Peck on a cowboy movie each time I listen the track, and this makes it sound even more dated than when released, bad start for a good but uneven album.

"Then" is a great improvement, at last we can listen an excellent song, complex, well elaborate, with interesting structures and radical changes. Again Join Anderson's voice is sweet and less acute than usual (When did he started sounding as Farinelli?), the violins are a perfect addition to Kaye's keyboards. A magnificent song.

"Everydays" is a good song, very Jazzy and well elaborate, but again a cover, this time from a song by Stephen Stills, way too much if you add the two tracks from the previous album and of course "America" by Paul Simon, but this is the last occasion in which this would happen, their subsequent albums would contain only their own material.

"Sweet Dreams" proves that a Prog band can also rock and do it well, despite the good arrangements, the wonderful keyboards and imaginative guitar by Peter Banks, it's a blues oriented track, the only question I keep asking is why did the backing vocals were so out of tune around all the album.

If only Tony Kaye had sounded like in "The Prophet" on all the tracks, probably YES would had never recruited Rick Wakeman, never so Baroque and dramatic as in this song, the good keyboardist does an excellent job leading the band towards a Jazzy track and making it well all along, with that typical late 80's Psyche oriented sound, I always wondered why they don't play "The Prophet" on stage.

As said before, the problem with "Time and A Word" is that the album is uneven, the best prove is "Clear Days" a short and boring orchestral interlude that I believe was recorded only to reach the 39 minutes the album lasts, otherwise I can't understand how a sub- standard song was included.

Now "Astral Traveler" is another excellent song in which they blend the Baroque keyboards with a 100% Prog Rock structure, again Peter Banks plays excellent guitar sections that blend perfectly with the rest of the band, specially with good old Bill Bruford who does one of his most elaborate performances.

The album ends with the title song, a timeless classic that sounds today as good as it did in 1970, soft but at the same time complex, for the first time in the album the backing vocals are outstanding, absolutely melancholic that represents the first stage of YES with honors.

Now, I don't like the albums with so many covers, but all are well performed and leaving behind two weaker tracks, "Time and a Word" is a huge improvement that allows us to listen for the first time echoes from the future greatness of YES.

Not a masterpiece neither an excellent addition to any Prog collection, but a good album, so I believe three stars is a fair rating.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |


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