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YES

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.24 | 910 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer
3 stars It is the late 1969, and Yes have just released their first album. While this album does not reach the majesty of their future releases, it contains strong hints of what was to come.

The album starts strongly enough, with a catchy, up-beat rocker, 'Beyond and Before'. The song is one of the high points of the album, catching the users ears with a catchy tune and fun singing, but it is also an indication that Yes had not completely mastered the idea of prog just yet. (That would happen in 1971 with 'The Yes album').

The album trudges forward, and is filled with many decent tracks, but ultimately hinting at what was to come at the future. "Yesterday and Today" is a gentle song, showing that Yes knew how to do more than just rock out, and hints at some of their future ballads (such as Wonderous Stories and Turn of the Century). Every Little Thing (The Beatles) and I See You (The Byrds) are both covered on this album, and both hint at what would become Yes' best cover (America) by adding more instrumental parts and being made more Yes' own. Every Little Thing is particularly good of the two.

The lyrics had not yet developed to Jon Anderson's spacey flights of fancy that would appear on later albums such as Close To The Edge; there is no "A seasoned witch could rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace" here. The album has some hints of these lyrics in some places ("Time like gold dust brings mind down to level hidden underground", they sing in Beyond and Before), but is full of songs with more concrete lyrics. Harold Land is a good example of it, being one of the few Yes songs to include a narrative; this one about a soldier who goes to war and returns (which foreshadows Yes future epic, Gates of Delirium, which would also be about war).

The album closes on a strong track with Survival, which hints a bit more at the complexity that would come to the forefront of their music in time to come, and would later be mixed in with their 'Big Medley' during their 10th anniversary tour, becoming one of the only songs from this album they played once Steve Howe joined the mix for The Yes Album.

This album is close to a 2 star album, as there are few who would want to listen to it beyond Yes fans. I am going to bump it up to 3 stars, on the strength of it's timing - this is a good album to get to hear the development of the prog scene, but not essential. I am also considering the strength of this albums stronger tracks (Every Little Thing, Harold Land, Beyond and Before, Survival) in this judgment.

TheGazzardian | 3/5 |

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