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Yes - Yes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 1460 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars It's kind of hard to believe this is the band that was less than a year away from serving up "Astral Traveller" and "Time and a Word", and half of the group that would deliver Close to the Edge a couple years later.

Although the debut Yes album is largely a peace n' love, jazz meets psychedelic affair, there are plenty of indications this was not an average group of players. Anderson’s distinctive voice hits the listener less than a minute into “Beyond and Before” and doesn’t let up.

Chris Squire established himself as a unique and innovative bassist throughout, particularly on the mildly anti-war ditty “Harold Land”. Other than that one, a cover of the obscure Beatles tune “Every Little Thing”, and the crystal fog of “Survival”, this is pretty much a collection of fawning love songs. Some are almost embarrassingly, especially the McGuinn and David Crosby-penned “I See You”.

“Yesterday and Today” is an uncharacteristic piano and acoustic guitar-driven love ballad that has a nice sound to it, but is largely forgettable. Likewise the spacey and mellow “Sweetness” would have sounded closer to a Byrds track were it not for Anderson’s vocals.

“Looking Around” is probably the closest to the classic Yes sound that developed fully shortly after Tony Kaye and Peter Banks departed. The barely restrained bass, esoteric drums from Bill Bruford, and the choppy, unpredictable chord progressions approach the early 70s sound of the band, although at less than four minutes this feels grossly undercooked.

The closing “Survival” features plenty of seductive bass and keyboard interplay, but otherwise is also not all that memorable.

Melody Maker critic Tony Wilson found enough promise in the band’s sound to name them, along with Led Zeppelin, a band “that would make it”. Seems prophetic now, but undoubtedly his judgment was based more on the group’s live performances than it was these studio tracks. An interesting set of tunes that give an early glimpse into what would be one of the premiere defining bands of the progressive genre, but definitely not essential to the casual collector. Three stars.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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