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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2612 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars Five stars of historic merit, though not just that.. "The Yes Album", as others have suggested before me, is probably Yes's most accessible album, yet its compositions have remained concert classics throughout the years and, in some instances, have never really been bettered. A very optimistic, mellow-sounding record, it is not as adventurous as its follow-up, "Fragile", nor majestic as the mighty CTTE, but definitely a joy to listen to.

As everybody knows, there's no Rick Wakeman here - but the understated, more rock'n'roll-styled Tony Kaye does indeed quite a good job. And let's not forget that this album marks the debut wth Yes of legendary guitarist Steve Howe - one of the key elements of the band's sound thoughout the years. Just listen to "The Clap" (apart from the rather unfortunate title...) to get a taste of his dazzling acoustic skills. Obviously, the real cornerstone of Yes' sound is, here just like everywhere, Chris Squire's powerful basswork, which meshes effortlessly with the other instruments without swamping them, as it sometimes happens in later recordings (not that I mind, bass freak that I am...). Drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruford complements him quite perfectly, his playing here deceptively less complex than in the following two albums of the band, yet as crisp and fluid as it can be.

Album opener "Yours Is No Disgrace" is doubtlessly one of Yes's most unforgettable efforts, showcasing from the word go some Jon Anderson-led, celestial vocal harmonies and Squire's pounding, intricate bass lines. The four-movement "Starship Trooper", often used as a concert closer by the band, blends energy and dynamics with more reflective, acoustic-flavoured passages; while "I've Seen All Good People", with its accapella opening, it's one of the ultimate feel-good songs, proving most effectively that prog is not all doom'n'gloom as some people seem to think - possibly one of the best-ever Yes vocal tracks. "A Venture" may be the weakest song on the album, but it's very pleasant and upfliting in its own way, though it feels sometimes squashed between the monumental epics that comprise most of the record. Things end with a bang with the long, guitar-heavy "Perpetual Change", whose riff is certainly one of the most recognisable in the history of prog.

The only negative note in this review is for the drab, green-tinged cover, as the band had not yet begun their collaboration with artist Roger Dean, which was to produce some of the most impressive examples of album cover art ever. As you should never judge a book by its cover, though, don't let the less-than-impressive external appearance fool you - this is definitely a must-listen for any serious prog fan, particularly of the symphonic variety.

Raff | 5/5 |


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