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Yes - Yes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 1383 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars what the Flower People Say

Progtologists have long known that their beloved musical form had its roots in psychedelic rock, and yet the exact move from hippies to prog-heads has been a point of controversy for decades. After much debate, the missing link has been identified, and its name is YES. Not just the band, but the debut album itself, with its low budget cover art, heavy jazz influence and plenty of flower power. Some have claimed this album inspired Spinal Tap's first hit, though this author is fairly certain that entire band is based almost entirely on Deep Purple.

In all seriousness, this album may be the best example of "proto-prog" that exists. As Yes went on to be perhaps the main standard bearer of the prog genre, it is natural to look at their early work for the music form's roots. As it turns out, Yes produced some of the best psychedelic rock out there. Where rock and roll in general, and psychedelic rock specifically, could be quite loose and musically inconsistent, Yes' debut album displays great talent, honed compositions, and great consistency. If, like me, you like psychedelic rock, this is a near masterpiece. The harmony vocals are strong. The interplay of organ and guitar is superb. I would argue that what really sets this album apart is the jazzy playing of Bill Bruford. Already he's clearly far ahead of his peers, and the incorporation of his more complex rhythmic sense was integral in what was to come.

When you're starting place is already better than virtually every peer, it's a good sign of things to come. And the seeds that are on this album are obviously what were developed into one of the signature sounds of the progressive rock movement. Chris Squire's bass sound is already in the forefront, active and an integral part of the arrangements. The use of multiple textures, often within the same song, is performed with ease. Many of Jon Anderson's signature melodic choices are already in place. There are places where the organ clearly looks forward to the more active role it will play. Peter Banks' guitar is extremely well done, but is rooted more in rock n roll than replacement Steve Howe's. (This change may have been THE key in the evolution of the Yes sound.)

I'm a hippie at heart and I really love this album, as you can see. YES is going to hold interest for any prog fan, but for those who love 60's music and prog, this is a must have.

Negoba | 4/5 |


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