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Yes - Yes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 1383 ratings

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3 stars Yes ' 1969 (3.4/5) 11 ' Best Song: Beyond and Before or Yesterday and Today

I'm shocked, but this is yet another debut album from a classic prog rock group I enjoy far more than I feel I should under typical circumstances. Maybe it's coming off of that Return to Forever binge, and perhaps it could be that when the group was in their infancy, it was hard to let their own ego get in the way of the arrangements. I don't even have problems with the singing! Ah, wasn't it grand when a skilled group could accomplish something in the beginning without having to adhere to strict 'socially aligned' guidelines for releases? If they'd never gotten wind of their own (horribly overblown) importance, Tales from Topographic Oceans might have never been realized.

The name of the game here is energy. This isn't sissy-panzy weakling kittykattyrock. It's hard prog ROCK! sirs. That and all that sissy-panzy soft fusion pop crooning on 'Yesterday and Today'. But goddamn, the guitars in 'Beyond and Before' are biting and raucous (to use a word that makes me seem smarter). They cover a Byrds song, and predictably butcher the poor creature, but it's not out of disrespect or arrogance this time around.

In a way, this might be my favorite Yes album, for the simple fact of how mellow and unimportant it seems to be. No, it isn't one iota the milestone Court was in the same year, and the songs don't always have the strongest melodies. If you're like me, you could call these guys a very vocally limited, technically sharpened Crosby, Stills, and Nash (just kidding). The keyboards are bubbly and not really engaging, and 'Harold Land' was a botched (mostly) atonal jam session that needn't have existed in the first place, if I must say so, but damn this is a wholly adequate record.

Alitare | 3/5 |


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