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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2621 ratings

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Rhyme Drag With Drag
3 stars I'm perhaps in the minority in thinking that 'Yes' lost something (at least temporarily) in order to gain something. And I'm not just talking about changing guitarists. In my eyes this album... lacks colour compared to both the first two LPs and 'Fragile'. Maybe its the over-reliance on chunky rock riffing ('Perpetual Change' and 'Yours is no Disgrace' are about as close as the band ever came to straight "hard rock"). Maybe its because the keyboard player, who was such a delightful feature of the previous LPs, appears to have been locked out of the studio for most of the sessions. Maybe its because they hadn't yet perfected the art of the 'long song' - more so than at any other period, you can see where two or three riffs have been bolted together to create a 'big song'(By 'Fragile', they kicked arse at this, mind). Anyway... though I can't exactly put my finger on why, 'the Yes album' has never been a favourite of mine. Something is missing here...

For my money, 'Starship Trooper' stands as the clear highlight here. The opening riff is pretty cool, but (aside from some sweet fills by Mr Bruford), it comes across as a mite repetitive. Oh well, no biggie. The song gets better as it goes on, anyway. The middle section goes all twisty turny and semi-acoustic with some rather evocative bitter-sweet imagery ('I still remember/the talks by the water...') coming through from the lovely Mr Anderson. Then there's the lovely stacking 'aaahs' bit. Then (in the form of the 'Wurm' section) there's possibly the best piece of music the band committed to tape - a grungy riff that the band scaffolds upon thrillingly, increasing in intensity and pitch (Mr Squire, your bass is so nice!), like the sun bursting up through the ruins...

Then they fuck it up by putting some unnecessary (and surprisingly shaky) guitar-wanking by the usually ace Mr Howe at the end. Damnit! Ah well, still, all in all, a very cool song and, for my dosh, the best long-form piece they'd constructed up to this point.

To be honest, I can take or leave the rockier "anthems" at the beginning and end of the album... not becuase they're bad or anything, I just think they are rather uninspired and 'safe' in style and structure compared to the biggies off 'Fragile', for example. I actually preferred the 'big pop' approach of the debut to the 'totem rock' approach they try out here.

'The Clap' is just... there. 'A Venture' is rather nice, but draws very little attention to itself. 'I've Seen all good people' is probably my second fave - it's really pretty! Its also got a rather more playful and less heeeeaavvy arrangement than a lot of the other tracks on the record (I love the flutes on the verses and the booming organ during the 'du-dut du-dut du-dut' bridge bit!). Colourful - I like! It does ride on its chorus hook a bit long for my taste though... I mean, it ain't THAT great.

Well, something's missing from Yes's brew here... but all would soon cohere!

Rhyme Drag With Drag | 3/5 |


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