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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2622 ratings

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The Sleepwalker
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 1971 saw Yes releasing their first album to feaure a guitarist that would be of huge importance to Yes's classic sound, Steve Howe. Steve Howe's striking guitar playing would have a big role in the formula to Yes's success as a progressive rock band. The Yes Album features some pieces that are close to 10 minutes, of which two even are suites. The band's sound would clearly become more progressive and unique on this album and several later releases.

The album opens with the smooth and memorable guitar chords of "Yours Is No Disgrace", a piece that takes the best out of several of the band members. I personally find this piece very interesting thanks to Steve Howe's distinctive guitar playing and Chris Squire taking the bass to the foreground. The song is catchy, diverse, musically very interesting and really is a great way to open the album. The second piece is "The Clap", a guitar piece of Steve Howe which is performed live on this recording. I personally find this one a bit misplaced, which might be because it's a live recording on a studio album. The absolute highlight of the album (and perhaps more than only this album) comes next. "Starship Trooper" is a three part suite, and it's absolutely stunning. The sound of the piece is very warm and pretty thick. Chris Squire plays some very fine bass, and Jon Anderson's vocals are as pleasant as usual on this track. The middle piece features some groovy guitar playing by Steve Howe, but after a short while reprises the first part of the piece. The final 4 minutes slowly build up towards an epic climax, featuring Steve Howe's somewhat psychedelic sounding guitar playing and Tony Kaye's warm sounding organ.

Next is "I've Seen All Good People", a catchy two part suite. The first part features gentle acoustic guitar playing with some pounding drums and soothing recorder playing. The second part is much rougher though, featuring Chris Squire's amazing and razor-sharp bass sound and bluesy guitar playing by Howe. Jon Anderson sings the same very catchy line over this several times, though it doesn't get repetative at all. "A Venture" is a 3 minute song. Though not being a great piece, it still is a very fine song and has a distinctive sound thanks to the combination of Tony Kaye's grand piano playing and Chris Squire's groovy bass playing. The final song on the album is another piece close to 10 minutes. "Perpetual Change" is not as great as the other two epics on the album though. The song opens with some powerful chords, but soon moves to a very delighting melodic verse. The choruses sound pretty unexpected though, and really are among the best moments of this song. After the 5 minute mark an up-tempo part will come in, featuring some groovy bass and organ playing, and being quite dissonant for Yes's standarts. The song ends with a lovely melodic vocal section over some nice instrumentation.

The Yes Album is a great album I think, and some of the songs are definitely among Yes's best. The album isn't a masterpiece like Fragile though, but there's definitely not a very big difference in quality between them. Also, this album would show the first signs of Yes's disinctive sound. Because of the these things, I give it a 4 star rating. An excellent album.

The Sleepwalker | 4/5 |


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