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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover

THE YES ALBUM

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 1978 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars This is a Yes album(ha!) that deserves 5 stars. Light years ahead of the first two albums in terms of sound and composition. This was the last album to feature Tony Kaye for a long time. His organ work here is fantastic and is the glue that holds everything together. He also plays a little bit of piano and Moog as well. According to legend, Kaye was fired from the band because he didn't want to use synths and Mellotrons. However, he was using both as well as an electric piano on the One Live Badger album, recorded within two years of this album.

I think the rest of the band wanted a keyboardist who could be the equal of the new guitarist, Steve Howe. He added so much to Yes' sound when he joined. He even gets his own solo spot on the album in the form of "The Clap." Recorded live, it features Howe doing some great Chet Atkins style guitar playing. It's the closest thing to filler on here but I never feel like skipping it. Bruford is in fine form on this album. Jon Anderson, as usual, sounds like an old woman. Apart from maybe "The Fish", I don't think Chris Squire ever had a better bass sound than here. At times his bass is run through a Leslie cabinet, other times he uses some sort of tremolo effect.

The album begins with one of my favourite Yes songs, "Yours Is No Disgrace." The Moog in this song is subltle but effective. Howe really shines on this song. Great harmony vocals. Love Squire's bass. The part with Howe's guitar going back and forth is terrific and is only topped by the part that immediately follows. Love the sped-up ending, a nice touch. "Starship Trooper" is another classic. I like how the bass is mixed slightly left of center, making it stand out more. Bruford does some excellent drumming on this song which adds so much. A little bit of Moog at the end of the 'Lifeseeker' section. Love the sound of Howe's guitar during 'Wurm', this is one of the best moments of any Yes song. Great double-tracked guitar solos and organ at the end.

"I've Seen All Good People" is the most famous song from the album. Also the most mainstream sounding song here. Along with "The Clap" this was always my least favourite song on the album, but it's still really good. Like the recorders(?) which you don't get on live versions. The organ here is fantastic. Always thought the 'give peace a chance' line was pointless and slightly dates the song. The 'All Good People' part shows Yes doing some straight up rock'n'roll. "A Venture" is often ignored but is a great song. Like the piano getting faded in. The slow polka-type rhythm is interesting. More great harmony vocals in this song. I like how the instruments get a bit looser near the end. One of my biggest complaints about this album is that Howe's solo at the end gets faded out.

That leaves us with yet another classic, "Perpetual Change." Cool call and response type vocals. At 5:09 starts one of the best and most experimental parts of any Yes song: a dissonant jazzy section in the left channel while the main theme is played slowed-down in the right channel. Some guitar and Moog gets added in the center. Simply brilliant, too bad they couldn't pull this section off live (see: Yessongs). Love the ending with the harmony vocals going "ahhh".

This whole album is timeless...it could have been recorded yesterday (pun intended). Such a great, unique sound which the band never recaptured again. Although I can understand the love for the next two albums, this one is far more consistent. Yes were never the same without Bruford, but they weren't the same without Kaye either. Wakeman may be a better keyboardist technically, but the Hammond sounds Kaye comes up with here are just fantastic. He's one of my favourite Hammond players, along with Keith Emerson, Jon Lord and Dave Stewart. Although the cover is just a band shot (rare for Yes), it has it's own uniqueness. A great early triumph for this band. 5 stars.

zravkapt | 5/5 |

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