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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.30 | 2986 ratings

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Evandro Martini
5 stars This album is very different than Time and a word and their debut, and it starts a wonderful series of albums by Yes, that would include the absolute masterpiece of progressive, Close to the Edge, and also the strange Fragile, the pretentious Tales From Topographic Oceans, and the jazzistic Relayer. These five albums consolidate Yes as the best group of Progressive Rock, in my opinion.

Here, Steve Howe comes into the band, and he fits prefectly with the group, and also completes the vocal harmonies that Yes already used, and that get really better in this album. Steve shows virtuosity in various guitars: he uses all the styles of electric guitar that you can expect in a progressive band, and knows very well how and when to use each one; the acoustic is very good, too: he does a fantastic finger-picking in The Clap, and strange and beautiful riffs with the vachalia, that sounds like a banjo.Tony Kaye's playing is economic, and he doesn't want to be the star, but I like him this way, and because of this, we can hear Howe's guitar almost always on the first plan of the songs. Chris Squire does a great job, as usual, but here his style is more subtle than in Close to the Edge, and even in Time and a Word. Bruford gets better in this album, giving an interesting and progressive energy even to straight and simple drum works, like in All good people. Anderson changes a little bit his style, with a voice that is more angelical. Let's see each song, and why it is Yes' first masterpiece. The album starts with Yours is no disgrace. A main theme that Bruford once said that reminds him circus music is accompained by a strong and melodic organ riff. Howe starts, then, a sui-generis guitar solo, showing all his virtuosity, and then the voices enter. Since the beggining we note the vocal harmonies are different than in Time and a Word, with the addition of Steve's voice, that fit so well with Chris and Jon(altough Steve, singing alone, is a pathetically bad singer). The lyrics are, very subtly, about the Vietnam War. In a calm part, Chris shows us how well he can play, adding a special feeling to every note, each note played by him "says" something different than its predecessor. But he doesn't throw the notes in your face, you have to pay attention to him most of the times to listen to his wonderful bass style. Than, we have The Clap. Steve Howe plays so well and so fast that anyone who has ever touched a guitar will envy him. This recording is from a live presentation, when everything went perfectly well. Fantastic. The applauses don't even finish, and we listen to the two chords of Starship Trooper. The interesting about these chrods are the six notes of bass, that seem to move brilliantly under the "skin" of the music. After this, we have Jon singing a beautiful melody. In Disillusion, Steve acompains Chris and Jon's voices with a very original riff on the vachalia. Than, the Life Seeker lyrics returns, and we have Würm, where three complex chords accompain a brilliant guitar work by Steve. On live presentations, Chris and Rick Wakeman improvise in this part, and it's very interesting. I've seen all good people starts with Your Move, that has a splendid melody sung by five(yes, five!) different voices in some parts. Maybe you dindn't notice, but Your Move's lyrics are about a chess game... make the white queen run so fast... move on back two squares... of course Jon Anderson makes the lyrics in his very own way, and sometimes they seem to be abstract, but they aren't. After this, there's All good people, with only one verse, and an improvisational work by Steve Howe and Chris Squire. Tony Kaye's organ here is a bit boring and we can see why the band traded him for Rick Wakeman. He just doesn't evolve, keeps al the song with the same organ chords, played at the same way. A venture, however, shows a magical work by Kaye, in the piano, and in the ends he uses a moog, very well. Steve does a good guitar riff, and Chris makes a mind-blowing bass work, accompaining the strange time changes with even stranger bass lines. Perpetual Change shows us what Yes would do in the next albums. It's a complex song, with lots of time changes, including some crazy(in a good way) experiments with the 7/8 time signature. All the band members play VERY well, even Tony Kaye, that uses the piano in a simple but elegant way. The themes change all the time, just like in Close to the edge, and the voices are all great.

It is a masterpiece, the first album where Yes achieved a good cohesion between songs, and altough they may have some problems, they're all greatly composed, arranged, and played. Yes made here a "perpetual change" in their sound, with more elaborated songs, more important instrumental sections, and more complex vocal harmonies. In short, Yes really started to be Yes here.

Evandro Martini | 5/5 |


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