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3 stars A naive, but fresh and creative album with a late sixties sound. Influences include The Beatles and west coast American pop. The compositions show some originality in arrangement. There are hints of much better work to come. My favourite track is Survival.
Report this review (#12635)
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars Whilst not their best, it does look forward onto better things. The music tends to be less flashy (although the performances from all concerned are still wonderful) and a little bit more conventional rock orientated but at the same time is much deeper then much of the commercial pop/rock albums at the moment. A worthy debut.
Report this review (#12628)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Ambitious psych or proto prog that should not be too highly regarded as this is their first one and the band will get much better at it in the very near-future. A good thing to do is to invest into Yesterdays as the best tracks from this one and their second one are gathered into one good compilation. Really, the most interesting numbers have been picked up one that good compilation, but also added their version S&G's composition of America. This debut album was released on the Atlantic label, but with different artworks on each side of itself - the pond, the US getting a better deal, than the European black artwork.

Among the better tracks on this album are Looking Around and the 6-mins Survival, both heavy-handed on the organ, courtesy of Tony Kaye. Some tracks are rather too soft for the group (as if not a natural speed for them), namely Sweetness and Yesterday & Today. There are a few covers on this album as CSN's I See You and the Beatles' Every Little Thing, but it's not like they revolutionized the original version either. Not exactly a memorable debut album, but definitely worth investigating, at least through the Yesterdays release. I round this album up to the superior unit, hence three stars, partly out of respect for the group's immense early career.

Report this review (#12629)
Posted Monday, March 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If I compare this first yes album to the first GENESIS, well, YES was quite in advance!! Just hear the complexity and refinement of those beautiful songs!! "I see you" is absolutely catchy! "Yesterday and Today" and "Sweetness" are tender ballads that cannot be forgotten! "Looking Around" with a beautiful organ sound. The guys jammed quite fast and well on "every little thing".

The keyboards that makes the whole simple but efficient: organ Anderson's voice is particularly soothing. For 1969, this was a huge album!

Report this review (#12630)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars On their eponymous debut, the band's brand of muscular psychedelia is already distinctive. ANDERSON's precious voice, the sinewy rhythms of Squire and BRUFORD, BANKS' dexterous guitar and KAYE's austere keyboards offer clear indicators of a style that would evolve into their subsequent masterworks. However, there are some growing pains in evidence: the harmonies are occasionally strained and some of the softer tracks ("Sweetness", "Yesterday and Today") sound dated. Despite arriving at a unique style that mixes airiness with explosive playing, Yes didn't create this music in a vacuum. Bits of PINK FLOYD (particularly in their cover of THE BEATLES' "Every Little Thing") and other sci-fi rockers pop up in their music, tempered by the psychedelic harmonies of CS&N and THE BYRDS (whose "I See You" gets a terrific treatment here). While their first album didn't chart or generate a hit, some of the songs are well worth hearing: "Beyond and Before" and "Looking Around" are dynamic and inventive, "Harold Land" is a fine piece of musical storytelling (an early example of ANDERSON's lyrics before he abandoned form), and "Survival" offers a taste of the impressive arrangements to come.

Viewed from the vantage point of their later music, "Yes" is still rough around the edges, but the band's enthusiasm and artistic aspirations already set them apart as something special.

Report this review (#12631)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The boys were just warming up and to be honest this is not a bad album at all. Naive is a good way to describe it but songs like "Survival" and "I See You" set the tone for the good times ahead. The distinct sound of Yes is immediately apparent and with Peter Banks and Tony Kaye in the starting line up it mattered little to the obvious direction they were about to embark on. There are the hints of creativity, perfectionism and plain boldness which unfold in the near follow up studio releases. This is better than just for completionists and makes a solid start for Yes fans.
Report this review (#12638)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
Moogtron III
4 stars I know, this is their first album and they've improved so much on their writing, production skills, originality etc ever since. But what a wonderful debut this album makes. Lovely melodies, great harmonies already, and what an enormous amount of energy is being released on this album. Too much coffee being drunk, as Bill Bruford once said? Well, the record is intense, for sure. Influences from the Beatles, Byrds, Vanilla Fudge and Buffalo Springfield are obviously there (this record has a lot in common with " Again", Buffalo Springfield's second album), but never mind about that: what a fantastic listening experience this record is. Not as complex and adventurous as The Yes Album, Fragile and you name it. But never mind about that: this record helps you fall in love with life again. Try listening to this record and NOT feel good at the same time.
Report this review (#12639)
Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I really like this album. Every member of the band played very good. In this album I can hear better than in "Time and a word" Peter Banks`s skills as a guitarist, as his guitars are better mixed in this album. Tony Kaye also shines, particularly in "Harold Land" with a very good organ and piano arrangement, and also in "Looking around". I don`t know why both Banks and Kaye are underrated sometimes. Bill Bruford shines in his drums, particularly in "Harold Land" and in his jazz drums for "I see you". Chris Squire with his "dynamic" bass, and Jon Anderson singing is more pop rock. I like all the songs from this album, particularly "Yesterday and today" (which has some influence from the 60s music from the Beatles), "Harold Land" (the best of all), "Looking Around", and "Survival". The vocals by Anderson, Squire and Banks are very good, and I think that Banks had a better voice than Howe for backing vocals, without diminishing Howe`s talent in Yes.
Report this review (#12641)
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I liked it since I heard it for the very first time...

Listen to Squire's introduction to Beyond and Before, here's a hint for what would be his amazing bass working ...still to come! And listen very closely to the Bank's jazzy guitar, volume-knob-"crescendo"-effects (before being an ordinary guitar technique years after) and amazing well-placed overdrives.

There's also superb Hammond sounds provided by Tony Keye (blending musical inspiration and great technical brilliance) together with masterpiece drum work of Bill Brufford.

At last, but obviously not least, there's the celestial voice of Jon Anderson

It is said that the first album of any great group uses to show ups-and-downs , roughness and doubts.

Forget it ! And listen to this inspirated album.. :)

Report this review (#12643)
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Though not at the point that would make them famouse, It is essentially a good start, Remember, this was their initial intention to blend the vocal harmonies, the jazz and classcal styles into 1 unit. My personal fave on the track is Harold Land. I like the story it tells and I like Tony Kayes Organ playing. Ironically, the first 2 LPs is where he shows his talents wherein "The Yes Album he is mereley background. It is no Desert Island disc but a good start to what is about to come...
Report this review (#12645)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Yes debut is mightily impressive. Today it seems even more creative when one looks back at their recorded history and how they continually developed with each album. This is where their foundation was set and everything that happened subsequently comes back to this fine recording.

Jon Anderson and Chris Squire melded their vocals in sparkling fashion in all of these songs. The melody and rhythm of tracks like "Every Little Thing" and "Dear Father" are an indication of what fruit the future would bear for this legendary band. Their ability to mix progressive sounds with pop would prove to be their strongest asset and it still is today.

The freshness and clarity of the sound on this version is outstanding, just as every other remaster I have heard thus far from the Yes catalog is. With a generous helping of bonus tracks (six), the listener gets a glimpse of different versions of tracks while listening to the developmental stages of each like never before. That can be the most rewarding aspect of bonus tracks when they are chosen with discriminating care as they are on this CD. This is the best place to start if you are purchasing all the remasters, although I did it in a different order, the impact was just as powerful.

Report this review (#12648)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Of course, the original vinyl album cover just had the logo, Yes, in red, against a black background. The cd remaster has the above cover. I had the original, bought about 1976, and I now have the cd. I have always rated this album highly. It is far superior to some of their later work. On this debut, the band show their hippy-poppy pyschedelic roots, but with plenty of melody and power. In some ways it sounds dated, very sixties, in others, it sounds quite modern, an interesting and attractive blend! "Beyond And Before" is an excellent opener, powerful and upbeat, Chris Squire immediately stamping his trademark sound on the track. Jon Anderson sounds as if he has been doing it for years, and the rest of the band are all up to scratch. Sometimes, I think, it is forgotten, in the wake of Howe and Wakeman, just how good the 'originals' were! Neither Peter Banks nor Tony Kaye were short on talent themselves! I always liked Banks' bluesy, sixties style, and Kaye filled out the sound nicely, with much dexterity on occasion. Bruford is Bruford, no more need be said about one of the top rock drummers of all time. I always loved "I See You". It is redolent of flower power and love to me, with a wonderful melody and tight playing. Nice guitar work from Banks here. "Yesterday And Today" is good too, short but sweet, again a love song. Side one of the old vinyl finished with "Looking Around", another powerful piece. Excellent organ here from Kaye. "Harold Land" sounds a little dated maybe, but is well written and evocative of the casualties of war. Not flower power in sentiment by any means. "Every Little Thing!", the Beatles song, is given the Yes treatment here, back in the days when they were doing covers. And they have given it some needed spice here, with plenty of oomph and power again. Very nice. "Sweetness" is what the title suggests, very sixties and sweet, but extremely listenable. A lovely melody here. The album ends with "Survival", which starts at a fast pace, then quietens down ready for the verse. Nice keyboards here again, and some good harmonies. Thus ends the first album by Yes, and, whilst not quite up to their classic period, (Fragile - Going For The One), it is certainly a worthy addition to any collection. Yes fans who don't have it will find it different, but still sounding like Yes. A good debut.
Report this review (#12649)
Posted Sunday, February 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The birth of Yes, already showcases their skills and versatility with vocal harmonies, prominent basslines and adventurous songwriting. Yes is clearly a product of that era, bluessy rock, with psychedelic influences. Yes deliveres a mighty powerfull debut.

1. Beyond and Before (4:50) A mighty bass kicks in, great vocal harmonies in a thrilling exciting song. 2. I See You (6:33) A Jazzy tune carried by great guitarplay and syncopating drum&bass. Awsome song. 3. Yesterday and Today (2:37) A quieter ballad, with some nice moments. 4. Looking Around (3:49) A great song, Heavy symphonic music, with great keyboard melodies, accompagnied by powerbassplaying and rhytmic guitarplay. Good singing.

5. Harold Land (5:26) Again a great song, beautifully sung, with Jon's distinct voice, fragile and strong at the same time. Just beatifull. 6. Every Little Thing (5:24) The beatles song played with raw-power, some bluesy Floydian frenetics and great guitarplay throughout. 7. Sweetness (4:19) A beatifull slow mesmerising well sung ballad. 8. Survival (6:01) It kicks in with a great typical Squire bass, with the keyboard of Tony melting in to a great opening of this wonderous track. After the grand opening a soft melodic accoustic guitar takes over, with one of the best vocal-lines from Jon, singing of the birth of spring and the circle of life to accompagnie it. A great marvelous track, and one of the reasons I got interested in Yes's music.

This album is one of the cornerstones of early progressive rock music. On occasion it may sound dated and the production may appear to be lacking at points, but it is a great powerfull statement of an emerging rockband, with raw-power, excelent musicianship, a treasure to behold.

I only give it 4 stars, because there are better albums to come from Yes, but for any other band from this time, it would have been a solid 5 star album. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Report this review (#12653)
Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars There first album sounds nothing like their later stuff but is still very good. beyond and before is a very cool british pop kinda song. it has very nice voal harmonies. i see you i think is actually a yardbirds song but yes does a great version of it. yesterday and today is also done very well. looking around is cool and so is survival. the others i stil like but they are not my faves on the album.
Report this review (#12654)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Early Days Yet for Yes, This is more of a bluesy psychedelic album rather than their well known epic symphonic sound. Yes I Do Like This Album. 'Beyond and Before' and 'Survival' are the bestest tracks on this album also include 'I See You' another classsic track, a cover version I believe. There are one or two reviewers not 100% satisfied with this album and I can understand that. It is their first effort and a lovely modest debut album from the Kings of Prog Rock. Yes. Sorry No Rick Wakeman, Alan White and Steve Howe in this album but that does NOT matter at all! Happy Listening.
Report this review (#12655)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A brilliant debut album by YES, which should please those listeners who like the music of the 60's. CHRIS SQUIRE's familiar bass sound is already present, and as it's accompanied with BILL BRUFORD's drumming, they create a wonderful rhythm section which is pleasant to listen to. "I See You" was previously been recorded by THE BYRDS, and this band had some influence on YES, as they adopted their strong multi vocal harmonies to their sound. Also "Harold Land" is a pretty anti-war folk song, which haven't been on many re-releases, but maybe "Survival" is my biggest favorite on this album. Recommended if you are into this kind of stuff!
Report this review (#12656)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes' debut album is exceptionally strong for the inexperience of the band members, and in comparison to a lot of other English albums from this time. You can tell this band was going to be big from this debut alone. The heavy bass work and the prominence of the drums, guitars, and keys was very influential and innovative for it's time.

The album starts with a bass and vocal heavy song called "Beyond and Before", a very solid track. Then comes in a cover of The Byrds' "I See You", another good effort, the best parts of the song are Peter Banks' and Bill Bruford's jazzy break in the middle of the song. The next song was written by vocalist Jon Anderson, it's a slower and more vocally-driven song making it mellower than the other songs on the album. "Looking Around" features Tony Kaye's keys more than anything and decent melody, remeniscent of The Beatles. The end of the song features one of the heaviest moments on the album. "Harold Land" is one of the first songs to feature Chris Squire's heavy playing style that drives the song, but other than that the song is pretty weak. Now comes the daring Beatles cover "Every Little Thing". It's the best and most original cover of a Beatles song from anyone around this time. "Sweetness" is a melodically strong and beautiful song. The closer "Survival" starts off with some pretty intense melody by Squire and the gang, and then meandering into delicate melody until Jon comes in with that warm tone and finishes the album.

The problems with this album are some unusual engineering and production and some passable songs, but it still proves to be a good debut album with some good moments.

Highlights: Beyond and Before, Every Little Thing, Sweetness

Report this review (#38298)
Posted Saturday, July 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Having followed the band's progress until today, it's good to reflect back on how it was like when their debut album hit the road. This was not my first album with the band as I knew YES name quite late, i.e when "Fragile" was released. I only knew this album later because I was so amazed with the beauty, the energy and the beautiful compositions of "Fragile". When I finally knew this album, I loved some tracks and I always repeated the songs more than two times when I played this album. They were: "Harold Lands", "Every Little Thing", "I See You" and "Yesterday and Today".

Let's put things into perspective and have it a reasonable comparison with another band - which I believe the appropriate comparison was King Crimson whom at the same year released "In The Court of The Crimson King". ITCOTCK in a way was musch more progressive in musical quality with track like "21st Century of Schizoid Man". Secondly, all music of KC was original while Yes still covered The Beatles. And at the same year Genesis released "From Genesis To Revelation" with original music. So, this debut album from YES deserves only three stars not to undermine that this was the foundation where the the band music direction was leading to. Obviously. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Report this review (#39583)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
2 stars The first Yes's album... And I have some mixed feelings every time I hear it!

This is not a bad work, but the sound of the instruments is bad, and I don't like the Jon Anderson's singing here. His voice seems afraid, without the power and sensitive feeling of later releases... He is like insecure, and his smirred vocals doesn't help to mend the weak production of the album.

Nevertheless, this record is interesting to know how the Yes's music increased its quality in a short lapse of time... Tony Kaye's keyboards had to be clearly surpased by the Wakeman's ones in the future, but they are not bad here anyway. And although I really miss the Steve Howe's guitar playing too, the usual experimental Yes's guitar passages are also here, like in I See You... And so are some of the Yes's trademark facts, like the strong Chris Squire bass playing, the good Bill Brufford's durms, the pop influences (Sweetness, Every Little Thing...) and the love for long instrumental passages (Harold Land, I See You...)

I have an unofficial Yes album wich is called "Sweet Dreams", and it has early Yes songs from "Yes" and "Time and a Word" played live on little places with a little audience... And these versions are very much better than the studio's ones! They are strongest, bravest... Songs like Sweetness, Looking Around, and the Every Little Thing's cover sound great in that album!

Best tracks: I See You (the most progressive and experimental track of the album...), Looking Aroung (a catchy song, with a fine keyboard's riff...) and Every Little Thing (good cover, with this odd western introduction...)

Conclusion: I think that Yes's "Yes" is not a bad album... But if you are not a Yes's fan, you'll hardly find something really interesting here. And of course, this record is not the right place to start with this band, because it offers not the real power of this great band. I suggest you to start with the albums they made with Steve Howe in the line-up... Specially "Fragile" or "Close to the Edge"! This debut is only for fans or collectors.

My rating: **1/2

Report this review (#42567)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the review of someone who's experience on progressive rock is just starting... with the listening of Yes's first album. It is definetly a good album in my opinion. You can note the little experience in the songs as they could have been more worked on. When I listen to it I feel the songs were too compacted as if the band could have explored and extended the insides of them much more. Still great guitar in I see you and Survivor while Bruford's drumming gives that jazzy feeling to the songs. Excelent vocals by Anderson. Three starts as the album is still far from epic.
Report this review (#42720)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Warning, while this album is from Yes, this is NOT a progressive album! It is instead a fresh and nice 60s album with lots of beatles influences. While the members here are very talented, they do not show off, nor play in the way you may expect. Chris Squire does not play his bass as lead instrument, bruford does not play highly complex rhythms, and Anderson sings a little differently than I am used to. The two early members (kate and Banks) do a good job in leading the music, yet are no Wakeman and Howe. The 2 beatles covers are interesting, yet no better than the originals. The real highlight of this album is Survival which is the only progressive rock song of the album and has many musical changes while being just 6 minutes long. The vocal harmonies in that piece are gorgeous.

My grade : D

Report this review (#42749)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars A modest start for what may well be the most influential British progressive rock act. On tracks like "Survival", one can hear them attempting to grasp for a more symphonic rock sound as suggested by King Crimson's IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING, coupled with the band's own influences. Obviously the Beatles and the Byrds are the biggest influences here, as cover versions of "Every Little Thing" and "I See You" clearly show. Peter Banks' guitarwork is pure FIFTH DIMENSION (the album, not the group!) and the vocal harmonies are very Byrds-ian as well.

Their only symphonic conceit, really, was via Tony Kaye's biting Hammond organ work. It adds a texture to the band's sound that would be lost with only just guitar, though Banks fills up the space well with his crisp playing. Jon Anderson's distinctive voice shows that they were something special already at this early stage, and even through rather dated psychedelic numbers like "Harold Land" one could expect to hear great things in their future.

Report this review (#42874)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars The signs of future greatness are all there. Great songs in need of better production but then it was over 35 years ago. 'Survival' is a masterpiece to close the album and I've often wondered what it would sound like if they played it live today.
Report this review (#48333)
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars A first album of a band afraid of their capacities, I think... That's probably the origine of the stupid introduction of Harold Land, a song that should be as simple as yesterday & today: they are searching arrangements and the song suffers a lot of it. (On the second album, the same mistake is heardable on Prophet.) But you have here some great promises with Every little thing or Survival. The biggest mistake of this album is to have kept Something's Coming for the b-side of Sweetness, because Something's Coming, even if it's a cover, should be the best song of the album for me. And at last the song will never be aviable on a 33T. This first album is still far from what will become the band, but the work is globally good.
Report this review (#48789)
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The great problem of progressive rock, in Brazil, with the discography either of proto-prog and early-prog is chronological, since first albums for bands that reached knowledge in the 70s were released after their mid-careers and most succeeded works. One can number several reasons but the matter is that around 1970, labels were more interested in the international mainstream pop-rock like Creedence, Santana, Bread or Carpenters and as ever to supply the internal market with our own popular or pop-folk music (national artists respond for 75% or more of the market).

When the wave of progressive arrived, around 1971, Brazilian labels released progressive band's most actual efforts forgetting that they had a musical past; for instance, the first Yes album released here was "The Yes Album", first Floyd was "Atom Heart Mother" and first Genesis was "Nursery Cryme" - according to a brief research I did. It was obvious that in some moment the almost forgotten past had to be fetched up.

I was aware of "Yes", circa 1974, and I can't remember if it was by means of a tape or a LP. When hearing this album I noticed that it should be a great deal back in 1969 but after more than five years it sounded oddly puerile, with a psychedelic touch already looking out-of-date. Being then with the mind aimed to stuff like "Fragile" or "CttE" I wasn't very impressed and I confess that except for random hearings of some tracks I lost contact with "Yes" until recently.

It was entertaining to re-hear this album after those years; I still don't appreciate too much Anderson's voice but he seemed contained, giving more space to musical abilities of other members - and they were great, even considering their unripeness and timidity. For me Yes members' musicianship had always been their highest point - even the line-up was not the classical one; however Kaye and Banks are above-average players.

Just like 30 years ago I do prefer the covers 'Every little thing' and 'I see you'; the Lennon & McCartney song received a royal treatment that exploited all possibilities of its tune and the result is much more interesting than the Beatles 1964 recording; the Byrds cover at least matches the original record, a simple song, a bit psychedelic, very pleasant. One may say I am biased, since Beatles and Byrds are my preferred classic rock bands - but I cannot simply erase my memory and throw my taste away. The other songs attract me more now than in the 70s with special care to 'Survival' and 'Lookin around', both very progressive and agreeable. Other songs are hearable once you want to listen to the album as a whole. One single with the covers or one EP with the four better tracks could be appealing - but that's the CD era and the most probable is to pile 2 or 3 past albums in one disk.

This is really a good work, but not necessarily essential. Total: 3.

Report this review (#66224)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3,5 stars really... I cannot put four stars because it is not as good as "Tales..." or "Yes Album" (which are four-star albums to my mind) but putting "3" is not good either. Very strong album, especially for the debut. Among other great band's debuts (Genesis, VdGG, Camel) this is almost a masterpiece and I can only compare it with Gentle Giant's self-titled debut or Renaissance first brillant work. I have been always amazed by the fact that Andreson's voice does not change through the years... I can listen to the "ladder" and to this album and I can slightly see any difference. Simply amazing.. unique voice that withstood the test of time. The best word for this album is "mature". Especially in musical terms. Technical skills are not flawless but harmonies and melodies are terrific. Simply amazing. Highlights of the album: "I See You", "Yesterday and Today", "Every Little Thing", "Survival". Summary: great debut, a MUST for every Yes fan and highly-recommended for everybody who loves music (any kind of music, not especially prog).
Report this review (#68745)
Posted Wednesday, February 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes hit the ground running with their debut here. Although the playing on this album is not as clean as their later masterworks, with guitar and organ runs which go slightly out of time and a few out-of-tune vocals, excellent song-writing, originality and, most importantly, a fantastic sense of positive energy diminish the effect of these few errors.

Already Yes show their intent to progress the basic rock of the Beatles and the Byrds, especially in 'I See You' and 'Survival', which I consider to be the strongest tracks present. Generally, all the songs have the wonderful choruses we expect from this band, with very rich harmonies. The only things really lacking are well-constructed solos from Peter Banks and Tony Kaye. However, these are made up for by the excellent tone on both guitar and organ - the latter especially - and are the main constituents providing the warm textures which really define Yes' sound.

I recommend this album highly, especially to Yes fans, as an excellent insight into the bands development, as well as a real 'feel-good' album (sunny summer afternoons are the perfect compliment).

Report this review (#78679)
Posted Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.


Report this review (#86367)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Nice debut album for a great band to be (at that time obviously). No track really matches with any of their best later works, but for example survival has a nice start and looking around is funny too. There are also some covers on this album, but they did the covers "the Yes way", so it's very hard to actually recognize them!

Sadly for Yes, their debut album was somewhat overshadowed by Led Zeppelin's debut that came out at around the same time. Good thing they didn't give up after this album.

Report this review (#97135)
Posted Sunday, November 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris H
4 stars Ahh the start of many good things to come. And what a start it was! thsi is an excellent album, which opens the gate for their greatest works which come in the future.

"Beyond And Before" and "I See You" are two of my favorite Yes tracks of all time. Great riffs, tight drumming, thought-provoking lyrics. "Yesterday And Today" is another solid track which fits into the mold of the first two, however it is a little watered down. "Harold Land" and "Looking Around" are two sleepers, good but not great. "Sweetness" is an excellent ballad, which Jon on top of his game. '"Survival" and "Every Little Thing" have some good riffs but not much else. In my opinion they knocked this abum out of 5-star territory.

Report this review (#104349)
Posted Sunday, December 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am usually not very enthusiastic about the first works of giants from the seventies (late sixties in this case). I have to admit though that this "Yes" one, is a noticeable exception. The core trio (Anderson, Bruford and Squire) is very present and well supported by Kaye and Banks. The opener "Beyond And Before" has already all the ingredients of a classic YesSong : great vocals, good background guitar and of course the great bass playing from Chris. A very melodic tune full of poetry. The extended "I See You" is too jazzy for my taste. The second part sounds like pure impro. Quite dispensable. "Yesterday & Today" is a folky-jazz little tune. A bit better than the previous track, but far from being a highlight. With "Looking Around", we got another very good YesTrack. Beautiful vocal harmonies, vigorous keyboards and a very good rythmic section. An abrupt end though (they could have made it longer ...). "Harold Land" is another well elaborated song : emotional voice from Jon and great backing vocals as well (it is in the vein of "Time & A Word" on their next album). A very interesting track. A long psychedelic instrumental intro starts "Every Little Thing"; then we get a few seconds of "Day Tripper" and then the cover song effectively starts. An OK track. As the title indicates "Sweetness" is a ... sweet tune. Full of innocence and quietness. Good vocal harmonies and really smooth. Listen to it while you are angry to cool down! The more elaborate "Survival" closes the album. Very nice accoustic guitar play and wonderful vocals. Jon is already at his best and sounds like he will do for another ... 40 years or more. In many aspects this album announces the great work to come and paves the way for the masterpieces we all know. Three stars.
Report this review (#105049)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars The humble beginning of Yes, their debut is soaked in psychedelia with a pop sensibility, with excellent song writing an a couple of covers to boot.

Chris Squire contributed some excellent lyrics on "Beyond and Before" (seems a little more like something Jon would write) "Sparkling trees of silver foam cast shadows soft in winters home". There are jazz peices like "I See You", warm ballads like "Yesterday and Today"/"Sweetness" and excellent original song writing with my favourite, "Survival".

The quality I'd say is above the average quality from that time. The members of the band were all sufficient, Peter Banks being escpecially underrated. Tony Kaye's organ sound is also a big plus. Though at this point there isn't really anything that would suggest the coming of somthing like "Tales", they showed with peices like "Survival" and "Harold Land" that they were a little farther ahead than most.

An interesting and enjoyable listen.

Report this review (#108451)
Posted Monday, January 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This debut by famous Prog legend Yes had been a fairly good, nice to listen though not really stunning record still much in 60's psychedelic pop vein. Even the longer songs on here like "I See You" which is a well-done cover version of this Byrds-song or "Survival" are still quite far off in quality from their later work, yet a pleasant listen every now and then and together with "Harold Land" more or less highlights of this disk. Though this ain't certainly yet the typical band's sound which they would become famous for later on I've to say I prefer this album to most of their bombastic later stuff, in particular to their releases beyond "Relayer". Anyway in my opinion it's fully sufficient having two studio albums from them (CTTE + Relayer) in collection possibly added up with a fine compilation like Classic Yes and an excellent live album like Yessongs unless you're a dedicated fan of pomp prog. Thus I would say this one is for sure not to be considered essential, only fairly good and rather a collector's item for fans of this band. **1/2 really!!
Report this review (#109864)
Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars It's the sweltering summer of '70 and I'm hanging out at Tommy Cline's house. He's the drummer in my band and we all practice almost daily in his parent's stifling garage. He's also the guy who turned me on to King Crimson and Jethro Tull, just to name a few. We're discussing the merits of The Byrds and he jumps up suddenly, grabs an album and says "Man, you gotta hear these guys play 'I See You!' It's great!" Tommy's right. It's incredible. So begins my infatuation with Yes. Once again my dear friend (God rest his soul) had introduced me to a group that didn't sound like anyone else in the world.

The album starts with an alarming wakeup call from Chris Squire as his bass notes jump right out of the speakers at you, demanding your undivided attention. His composition, "Beyond and Before," clearly displays the love of vocal harmonies that brought him and singer Jon Anderson together in the first place. It has a sophisticated arrangement that is pretty advanced considering their level of experience and the song, while not mind-blowing, is an impressive starting point. Their take on Jim McGuinn and David Crosby's "I See You" is staggeringly good. I get the feeling from listening to this adaptation that the group started out to be a blend of cool jazz with a rock mentality and here they succeed. Peter Banks' smooth guitar licks paired with Bill Bruford's deft drumming is excellent. Again, this was the first song I ever heard from Yes. It knocked me out that fateful afternoon and I can honestly say that it's still a killer nearly four decades later. "Yesterday and Today" is nothing more than a pop ballad sung over some nice piano noodlings. It sounds like other flowery tunes of that day and it could've easily been covered by a group like The Mamas and The Papas. "Looking Around" is the best original song on the album with Tony Kaye's Hammond organ setting a powerful pace. The three part harmonies are adventurous (but sometimes shaky pitch-wise) and the end is abrupt but it's still a memorable offering. In contrast, "Harold Land" is the weakest tune. It starts well but soon gets bogged down in an unimaginative melody and loses its initial momentum. Next is "Every Little Thing," a Lennon/McCartney song I've always liked. In much the same spirit that Vanilla Fudge put their individual stamp on "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by the Supremes, Yes completely revamps this catchy tune while keeping its integrity intact. After a noisy but interesting opening they dive right into the song and deliver the tightest track on the album complete with pristine harmonies. Here they make a very good tune become great. "Sweetness" follows and it's another average but trendy love song (probably included to appease some hit-seeking record executives at Atlantic). "Survival" is a fine closer in that it features an adventurous arrangement based on several intertwining musical themes. It's not a classic by any means but it does display rudimentary elements of the progressive traits the band was just starting to explore.

The photograph on the cover speaks volumes. This wasn't a collection of grinning cover boys or a pack of sneering punks bent on searing your eardrums, this was a confident and convinced group of gifted musicians that knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish with their music. The juxtaposition of these five young men surrounded by what looks like a graveyard for outdoor antiques is quite appropriate and symbolic. As debuts go there have been better and a whole lot worse than this album. But when I first heard it on Tommy Cline's record player long ago I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Yes was going to carve out their own, unique niche in modern rock and roll.

Report this review (#112086)
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I've always liked the YES debut and thought it quite successful as first albums go. Compared to other debuts, it is not as good as Floyd's Piper masterpiece (thanks to Syd), but I think it's better or equal to debuts by Rush, Zeppelin, and Genesis.

Banks may have been no Steve Howe but he wasn't exactly a slouch either. Along with Bruford and Squire the musicianship is already pretty top notch. The songs are not quite prog yet but as pop songs they are good and not simplistic. I think the band exudes great confidence in their material here as well they should. And I think that given the time frame, they got a very good crisp sound on this release.

Harold Land and Survival are my favorites but there really isn't a lousy track anywhere, heck even the covers are nicely jazzed up and fun. That's why I recommend this first album to people, it is fun music with a nice touch of psychedelia and good playing. I don't feel the same about Time And A Word, that's an album I have never been able to get into. Strange because a lot of people sort of lump the first two together as being similar but I like the first much better.

It's no CTTE or Fragile, but it is a good start that all Yes fans should own. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#120909)
Posted Sunday, May 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes' debut album is not essential in any way. On some of its tracks the band sound undisciplined and immature. Nevertheless I find it a highly enjoyable album. The main melody and wintry imagery of "Beyond and Before", the opening track, has always appealed to me. "Looking Around" is based on a gorgeously rousing, march-like Hammond organ tune. "Every Little Thing" packs far more punch than the original version by the Beatles and opens with an exciting, two-minute jazzy jam which provides the first evidence of Bill Bruford's incomparable talent.

The most recent re-mix of the album (as of June, 2007) also contains, among other things, the original studio version of Leonard Bernstein's "Something's Coming", which was recorded during the same sessions. It's perhaps the most convincing performance of the lot. The band sound incredibly together, and the piece foreshadows the cinematic scope of later Yes cover versions, especially "America", which is similar in mood.

Report this review (#125337)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

This is a good album, not a great one but a nice way to launch an astounding carreer! What we have here is a band of still fresh students coming together to produce an album that remains fresh and enegertic to this day. I don't listen to it all the time but when i play it, it's always a source of pleasure as there are some beautiful and sweet songs on it. This is not yet the classic YES line-up as we have here PETER BANKS on guitar and TONY KAYE on keyboards (mainly Hammond). But some of the classic sound we all associate with classic YES is already here, thanks to the unique pounding style of the bass of CHRIS SQUIRE , already highly recognizable here and the fragile tone of the voice of JON ANDERSON.

There are two official covers for this album (the same goes for TIME AND A WORD), a black one with a YES logo pre-Roger Dean and another one with the the young men posing in front of some greek-style building .What we can notice already is that JON ANDERSON looks like he is already in charge as the other 4 stay well behind him like a bunch of back-up musicians.

PETER BANKS is an underestimated guitarist, i think as he shows some brilliance on this album with tasteful jazzy solos like on I SEE YOU. BILL BRUFORD already shows signs why he will become one of the greatest drummer in all rock and jazz music later on. The songs here all have a feeling of freshness and total innocence, especially the sweet ballads of JON AMDERSON like YESTERDAY AND TODAY and SWEETNESS.

We even have 2 covers of the BYRDS and the BEATLES covered in a psychedelic-jazzy way well in yhe style of the time. The classic YES sound is not yet totally present yet, but already can be heard in the best track of this album:SURVIVAL, a beautiful track opening the way of the good things to come.

Overall, a good albeit mot great, but pleasant 3 STARS means a good album? right? so let's go for 3.

Report this review (#126648)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good for a debut record. The main rhytm section is great Bill Bruford on drums (future King Crimson member) and bassist Chris Squire. Jon´s Anderson´s vocals are perfect as well. Overal, this is a more straightworward record. Beyound and before 5 Heavy sounding guitars and organ, Anderson´s high pitched vocals are in place. Peter Banks´ guitarplaying sounds a lot like Steve Hackett would on his Genesis records in places. The vocal parts are perfectly constructed on this one. I see you 3 A boring jazzy number. The band plays tight, but the song itself is not that great as a whole, with just an average melody, some flawed solo parts (especially the percussion solo). Yesterday and today 3 A piano dominated poppy ballad. Ian´s singingf is gorgeous, but the melody itself is sub par. The song sounds very dated, a typically introspective melodic piece of the late sixties era. The mood is captivating, though.

Looking around 3.5 A fine keyboard intro by Tony Kaye (very Emersonesque). The track is a nice rocker with a graet hook in the faster verses (the softer chorus parts are much less inspired). Harold Land 1 The keyboards sound even more like Emerson this time, dominating the piece. Squire´s bass is just gorgeous. At least the song changes with acoustic guitars thrown in after the intro. The song, however develops in a not very inspired ballad. The melody is obviously another relict of the mid and late sixties pop movement. I can´t deny, that Ian Anderson sings great, although the backing vocals are horrible. The intro doesn´t gel togther with the rest of the number, too. Every little thing 4 A heavy, progressive rworking of an early Beatles tune. The intro is particularly interesting, with Banks and the whole sounding very close to Robert Fripp in Larks tongues in aspic days. The song gets a fairly bombastic treatment. The vocals are somewhat flawed on here, which is the main problem here. Banks plays really excellent here. Sweetness 1 Another pop oriented ballad. The melody is really sweet, even too much. The track sounds as if it was recorded earlier than in really was. The vocals are especially cheesy on this one. Survival 2.5 The instrumental passages are great again, very evocative and moody in places, but the vocal melody is below average.

Overal:23:8=2.8= 3 stars

GOOD. but non-essential

Report this review (#130780)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes is not a cover band. Their sound was, in the good old days, meant for progressive rock. Tony Kaye's borderline cheesey organ sound doesn't really help, except in "Survival", which, by the way deserves five stars. All original songs are original. Survival is right up there with "Perpetual Change" (The Yes Album). "Harold Land" is nice, but would have sounded better a couple albums later. An okay album. Get it though. For "Survival"! This is the beginning of YES!!!
Report this review (#137699)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars YES bear their likings on their sleeves – no wonder, this was only a debut album, and BEATLES still were alive and kicking. It’s ridiculous when someone receives “a clone” tag only because of few related tunes and arrangements (attitudes? approaches?), like QUEEN were flamed for being a LED ZEP clone (?) or MARILLION were hated for copying (???) early GENESIS manner. History knows better and now YES still a huge and influential band in Prog world. This is true, but in 1969 they were just another good- playing ambitious band with some nice songs in their debut album. This one is mostly of Proto-Prog fans interests and can be recommended to them wholeheartedly. Amen.
Report this review (#138838)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This first recording of YES is a success.

Of entrance the rhythmic section (Bill Bruford on drums and Chris Squire on bass) is obvious by its originality and its incredible energy. To this solid basis is added the inimitable voice of Jon Anderson particularly inspired. Finally it is necessary to pay tribute to Tony Kaye and Peter Banks who are not geniuses but serve perfectly a music which is not still symphonic but already very ambitious for its time (1969).

Don't miss this one : songs are great, music is fresh, pleasure is simple but real.

Report this review (#140521)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Okay, so it's not prog. Yes' debut was NOT that bad though. The covers are pretty good. If there is a band that can make a cover their own song, and make it better than the original, it is Yes. Harold Land is probably the best song. Survival is another gem. I can see how people would dislike this album. It has a little filler and isn't very consistent. This isn't the place to start with YES, please, listen to The Yes Album first.
Report this review (#141007)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A good demo

Yes' first album is a somewhat rough and ready affair, giving little indication of what was to come. With no Rick Wakeman or Steve Howe on board yet, the Anderson/Squire/Bruford core is completed by Tony Kaye on organ and piano, and Peter Banks on guitar. The band evolved from Mabel Greer's Toyshop, a group which all but Bruford had been a member of at sometime. Clive Bailey of that band is also involved here, co-writing some of the tracks. Bruford was not directly known to the other members when he joined having responded to an advertisement in the pop weekly Melody Maker. Anderson and Squire's collaboration resulted mainly through a shared interest in the development vocal harmonies. In retrospect, while that interest is obvious here, it has some way to go in terms of development.

This, the band's first album consists mainly of original material, with just two cover versions of songs by The Byrds and the Beatles. As with so many albums of the period, the vastly under appreciated influence of Vanilla Fudge can be heard in the way these cover versions take the song and completely transform it.

For me, the best track by far is "Survival", a wonderfully constructed piece which was so far ahead of its time it was likely to meet itself coming back! The song is an excellent example of early prog, being a six minute track with several time and mood changes and a great vocal performance by Jon Anderson. It has a passing resemblance in terms of structure and perhaps sound to the Moody Blues track "Question", which came slightly later, but is more widely known by virtue of the fact that it was a hit single.

The rest of the tracks have a much less refined feel to them, in part due to the immature nature of the arrangements and in part to the songs themselves. This album is more about the potential it contains than the content as such. The cover of the Byrds "I see you" for example has that distinctive Yes sound combined with a brave interpretation, but the track sounds more like an advanced demo than the completed article.

The songs are generally straight forward in terms of composition (apart from "Survival"), with tracks such as "Yesterday and today" and "Harold Land" being much simpler than the prog epics which would soon follow. Today they inevitably sound rather dated, but we must bear in mind that this album was recorded almost 40 (yes 40!) years ago.

In all, Yes' first album is a satisfactory demo for what lay ahead. There is little here to make this album essential, even to Yes fans, but it is a key part of the band's history.

Report this review (#149395)
Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my first review, and I thought what better place to start than with the band that truly started my love for Prog. The first YES album. This is a must if you want to truly explore the evolution of this great band. You'll find it all right here on this record. The bands' need to explore, their influences, and the basics of their incredible musicianship. When I listen to this record, the first things I hear that stand out are the Drums and Hammond Organ. Both Bill Bruford, and Tony Kaye, for a debut, are incredible. Chris Squire is also awesome, but is so over the top in the mix, that if brought down to a more subtle level, would have made this one of the greatest debuts ever. The mix is very lopsided. I've never seen producer Paul Clay's name on anything else I own. What gives this album 4 stars is the songs themselves.

1. Beyond and Before 3/5. Right out of the gate Squire's blasting through your speakers with an uncomplicated string of high notes that should have been lowered in the mix. Might have been better to have that series of notes rocked out by Peter Banks. the harmonies are also trying to find their place in Yes. Squire is also dominate in the vocal mix. The guitar is so buried that it doesn't get to take you where it should.

2. I See You 5/5. Somehow the mix works better on this track. This is a glimmer into what Yes was heading for. Taking a Cover song and making it your own shows how songs like America would see their day in the sun. The Jazz guitar breakdown in the middle is a nice touch. Bruford shows what could still be accomplished in a rock setting even if you are playing standard Jazz. Peter Banks at his best. Classic Yes vocals here as well.

3. Yesterday and Today 4/5. A great ballad to show off Jon Anderson's voice. Happy with just that right touch of sadness. The harmonies are all him as well. Tony Kaye never gets full keyboardist credit. You never hear much about his talent as a piano player, but this classic example with the just right touch of Rhodes in the background shows what he could accomplish as a well rounded player.

4. Looking Around 5/5. A Yes classic. Peter Banks and Tony Kaye make huge contributions here. Great chord progressions in the middle solo sections. Tony Kaye owns this song. Some of the best Hammond on record.

5. Harold Land. 4/5. One of the first true Prog songs ever. This would fit into any of the early Genesis records. More great piano and Hammond from Tony Kaye. Bill Bruford streams in some great changes while the band happily follows along.

6. Every Little Thing 5/5. Another great cover piece. Their amazing way of tranforming songs into their own has inspired so many cover bands to do the same thing. Nice Day Tripper touch just to wear their influences on their sleeves.

7. Sweetness 2/5. A throw away ballad to make up space on a record already too short. Overmixed Bass here again. Peter Banks plays some very Steve Hackett guitar here.

8. Survival 6/5. One of my truly all time favorite Yes songs. The beginning build shows you Heart Of The Sunrise. The acoustic flavor show touches of And You And I. This is a huge link in Yes lore. Bruford's snare work is starting to take it's shape. The harmonies are finding their Roundabout groove. Jon Anderson's lyrics are showing some of the complicated mysticism that would soon take form. Truly a Yes classic.

I recommend this record for those who are interested in the history of Prog Rock. YES has never received the credit it deserves for it's place in early Prog history. Only suffering from a bad mix, this record in 1969 is still full of great ideas and really does show what is to come.

Report this review (#156970)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Strong Debut. 3.5 stars.

Yes's 1968 debut (set off the chain of events destined to change the world) was surprisingly good. I had heard Looking Around and Survival before, but I was impressed by Peter Banks' guitar work, especially in I See You. Their signature vocal harmonies are nice, although they will continue to perfect them in only a few years time. Obviously, this isn't Close to the Edge, this isn't Relayer, this isn't Going for the One. But it is good.

1. Beyond and Before- 6/10: Good opener. Starts with some simple distorted guitar, then the vocals kick in, influenced by Simon & Garfunkel. Slightly repetitive and a bit corny in sections, but this is still Yes.

2. I See You- 7.5/10: Biggest surprise on the album. I never knew Peter Banks was this good. Obviously, Steve is still leagues better, but still... This cover starts starts with some jazzy guitar and Jon's beautiful voice. The song would be decent if it was just this first part, but then they break down into a three minute solo. Pleasant surprise. Great drums by Bill here too. A lot of it sounds pretty jazzy.

3. Yesterday and Today- 7/10: Jon wrote this one. Short and sweet, nice and pretty. Quick little ballad. Some nice acoustic guitar and keyboards in the background. Jon gets to showcase his voice here.

4. Looking Around- 7.5/10: Ah, this song. Great keyboards from Tony Kaye (he was always very good, they only got rid of him because he only wanted to play organs and piano, and Yes wanted to use the Moog), and a nice, short and quick solo from Peter Banks. VERY upbeat song. However the vocals are the most memorable. The harmonies are great, interspersed with Jon singing by himself. Very well done (they wrote this one too (Jon and Chris)).

5. Harold Land- 6.5/10: They wrote this one too. Don't be thrown off by the lower rating, it's a very good song. I just like some of the other ones a bit better (and this reminds of Then from their next album, which is far superior to this song). This is definitely one of the highlights of the album though. Good bass, good keyboards, good prog song. This is probably the most progressive song on the album. Pretty vocals. Songs like Yesterday and Today, Looking Around, this one, and Survival really showed the potential they had for writing their own songs. (And once they stopped doing covers and added Steve Howe, they took off).

6. Every Little Thing- 6.5/10: Good cover of this Beatles song. Great drums, good bass, good guitar. This song opens with a great solo, which, in the classic style of Yes from later years, has great inputs from all of the members. However, this is still a Beatles song, not a Yes song, and some of the vocals are a bit cheesy for Yes. Certainly not the cryptic vocals of Awaken or Ritual.

7. Sweetness- 7/10: Very pretty song. However, it is a bit poppy for Yes. Nice background keyboards and nice subdued drumming in this ballad. The vocals are the best part of this song, and are probably second on this album only to Survival.

8. Survival- 9/10: Definitely the best song on this debut. Jon wrote this one and it certainly showcases his voice well. Great bass in the intro too, as well as catchy keyboards and guitar and good drums. However the best parts of the song come when Jon comes in. The rest of the band kind of fades out and leaves Jon and quiet acoustic guitar chords. Beautiful lyrics, even more beautiful vocals, great chorus, all around very good song. Don't doubt the fact there's life within you/Yesterdays endings will tomorrow life give you/All that dies, dies for a reason/To put its strength into the seasons. Great message. Fairly progressive too. This one ends the way it began.

The bonus tracks are good here too: Something's Coming and Everydays are good songs, and Dear Father was one of the best songs of their early years. It's a shame it had to be limited to a B-side and a bonus track.

The tracks are ordered very well.

Oh yeah, one thing I forgot to mention, this album does have great bass. However, I figured this was self-explanatory. We wouldn't expect any thing less. I will say that the bass plays a much bigger part in their later works.

Avg. 7.125/10; 3.56/10; 3 stars, good but not essential.

So overall, a decent first effort from the greatest band ever. They only get better...

Report this review (#163248)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8.8/10 Great

Well I just wrote a long review for this and it got deleted and now I am discouraged and pissed. Anyway, I'll try to sum this up very quick now! This album is great, powerful songs on here and does not sound very much like the later perfect YES we know and love. This can be rouch around the edges at time, more classic rockish and actually a much easier listen, shorter and simpler songs. YES has a fantastic sound though right off the bat, and it is heard that they are a wonderful band right away. Harold Land and beyond and Before are probably my favorite tracks. The sound of this album is very peaceful, like having a catch with dad in the field behind the school on a sunny day in summer, but in 1970, more time travel. Very accessible stuff and fairly simple, give this a shot those interested in the more Zeppelin/Beatles/Stones kind of rock...not at full prog status yet, but YES is on their way and this record is great!

Report this review (#163515)
Posted Saturday, March 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Yes" is the eponymously titled debut full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Yes. The album was released through Atlantic Records in July 1969. Yes formed in mid-1968 and toured the UK early on playing both covers and original compositions. They signed to Atlantic Records in early 1969 and the 8 tracks on the debut album were recorded in April and May 1969. The album was not a commercial success upon release, although it did receive a fair amount of positive reviews from critics.

"Yes" features six originals and two covers of "Every Little Thing" by The Beatles and "I See You" by The Byrds. Both covers are re-arranged and fit in well with the original material. The overall style on the album is technically well played and slightly psychadelic rock with the occasional progressive edge. The 6:01 minutes long closing track "Survival" is the most progressive track on the album, but the remaining tracks also feature ideas and elements which point in the direction that Yes would pursue on subsequent album releases. They are just delivered here in a more simple and subtle fashion.

Most of the trademarks of Yes future sound are already in place here though. The intricate organ/piano and guitar work, the dominant and busy basslines, the fusion influenced drumming, and Jon Anderson´s and Chris Squire´s phenomenal vocal harmonies (guitarist Peter Bank´s also sings harmonies and of course also deserves a mention here). Anderson was already this early on a world class singer with a distinct sounding voice and delivery, and when complimented by Squire/Banks there is magic in the air...

The album features a detailed and organic sounding production job, and although Yes still had a way too go before reaching their peak, this is a good quality debut album which shows a lot of promise. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#165361)
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes debut album is rather good, i like this phichodelic style. And it's also good as a proto-prog work.

Beyond and before - 5/5 - melodies charming, interesting style.

I See You - 5/5 - The Byrds cover is brilliant too, rock'n'rollin' piece. Good to listen at mourning.

Yesterday and today - 3/5 - dislike this. Only for a current situation.

Looking Around - 5/5 - wounderful tempo song, so artistic.

Harold Land - 3/5 - same thing as in Yesterday and Today. Too boring.

Every Little Thing - 5/5 - Beatles cover in some tech art-rock style, also very interesting

Sweetness - 5/5 - sounds like a ballad at intro, their first prog piece ever. Anderson rules on!

Survival - 5/5 - this stuff is progressive also, sounding fantastic.

Conclusion: 4.5 stars, masterpiece!

Report this review (#167662)
Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars Sure, it's a sweet and chipper snap-shot of late '60's rock-- but it's also an outstanding start to what will later become the Yes sound. Although only a few of the here songs could be described as ambitious-- they are all performed earnestly and with fine attention paid to detail; certainly enjoyable if not epic with a fine mix of moods and colors.

The music itself sounds very much a product of its era, with Kaye's organ and Bank's guitar dating the songs with a touch of psychedelia. Each of these players leaves the band soon (and are often forgotten when those other guys join)-- but do a fine job getting the party started. Bank's guitar has a nice mix of soft noddling/heavy jamming, such as in I See You, where he delivers a jazzy, characteristic solo juxtaposed to noisy outbursts. Very enjoyable. Yes' key members, Squire/Bruford/Anderson, shine as well, especially for those who appreciate the band's later releases since with this debut we can really see where their talent started out. Perhaps most impressive, is the group's tremendous vocal harmonies which, led by Anderson's very strong leads, layer this album with class.

A great album, especially considering it is a debut; while a little old fashioned it will certainly appeal to fans of the band and maybe those who found themselves disliking their later bombast.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#168389)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes is a fantastic debut album for early prog. It's raw as compared to what their future albums would be like but the sound is very much Yes. From the standout track on the album Survival you can see hear all the elements that Yes would be known for years later. The jazz stylings and intrepretations of cover songs such as I See You and Every Little Thing show the versitility of the band to recreate these songs and give them the Yes sound. I would consider this album and excellent addition to any prog collection as shows the strength of Yes even at it's conception.
Report this review (#171723)
Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars No

OK, I dislike Yes immensely.

And it's Jon Anderson's fault.

Don't get me wrong, they wrote plenty of decent music, as a band - the main problem I have always had is getting past the vocals, which absolutely ruin the experience for me.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but I find the lack of variation in the sound of the vocals incredibly irritating after just a few minutes - not to mention the lack of originality. It reminds me so strongly of Buffalo Springfield/CSNY in the harmonised sections that, when I've tried to listen to a Yes album in the past, I've usually stopped before I reach halfway, and gone back to the originals to refresh my ears.

Rant over, hopefully the Yes fans will now have stopped reading - because you know what's coming; I'm going to tear the album to pieces to establish a) it's progness, b) stuff I like and c) mostly stuff I dislike - and I'll try to reason it out as best I can. After 30-odd years, I'm never going to be converted, and after reading so many rave reviews, I can still only wonder why - as, presumably, Yes fans will wonder at my distaste for this staple of Prog Rock.

The debut album from this Prog supergroup is called, rather unimaginatively, I feel, Yes (they also called their 3rd release The Yes Album - go figure). This, to me, puts them in second place to King Crimson all by itself - not to mention the immediate influences that jump out at you, such as the Beatles and the Byrds - both of whom are also covered on this album.

So the album kicks off with a typical slice of late 1960s/early 1970s boogie rock, driven by a single-note guitar rhythm and thick Hammond, providng a nice, typical sound. Then we get some Byrds/CSNY style harmonies decorating a rather stodgy melody and predictable psychedelic lyrics. The bass stands out as being a little unusual in places, but apart from this, there's nothing here that really stands out from other, better bands of the time - small wonder that this album failed to chart on release. The breaks for the a capella harmony sections are rather clumsy, and the bass rings through as being out of tune in places - and the harmonies themselves grate as the simple progressions repeat themselves. Banks' guitar playing here is similarly unremarkable - but it's a nice enough song, if rather drawn out at the end.

The cover of The Byrds' I See You has a nice jazzy intro, but then it's spoilt by, guess what? Yup - the vocals! Utterly appalling performance from Anderson, in which he displays a complete lack of understanding of the McGuinn/Crosby original with a flat barking delivery that spits out the words with none of the original subtlety. This once charming psychedelic pop song is then spun out into an indulgent jazzy improv, which is actually quite nice in and of itself - but feels rather tacked on.

Then Banks gets hung up on a short melodic phrase which kinda ruins proceedings - until a heavier section shows its head. Clearly, at this point the band want to be playing music that sounds like the stuff coming out of the progressive music scene, but this rambling, haphazard mess just doesn't have it. Then we're back to the song, in which, if anything, Anderson sounds flatter than ever - I don't mean in pitch, I mean in the delivery, which is as convincing as the acting in Friends.

At this point, it's worth recalling the Scottish band, Clouds, who were a part of the scene that Yes (formerly Syn), ELP (formerly The Nice) et al emerged from (and, BTW, Hendrix was an almost integral part of). Their 1968 album, Scrapbook is worth a visit by any fan of Prog; Listen to the constant shifts in groove on tracks such as The Carpenter and swings from solid rock to quasi-jazz to pure 1970s rock grooves - but also listen to the complete honesty in delivery, especially in the vocals. Also listen to the orchestrations in tracks like The Colours Have Run, and the 7-minute Waiter, There's Something in my Soup - all of this seems to pre-empt the direction that Yes would later stretch to breaking point, in a microcosm.

Next up is the unremarkable song Yesterday and Today, (incidentally the name of an export-only Beatles album) a soft, balladic type of song underpinned by simple guitar strumming and piano chords which seem to hang mainly around chord pairings.

Then there's the more uptempo and strikingly Cloudsalike Looking Around a pleasant foot-tapper with heavy bass and a couple of changes. This is mainly a groove rocker though - and there are plenty of better groove rockers from 1969 or earlier - I'd recommend Spooky Tooth's It's All About (1968).

Another groove rocker opens side 2 - the rather plodding Harold Land - which meanders around in its own happy space for a while. I prefer more darkness in my rock, and less predictability.

Then there is the unspeakable cover of Every Little Thing, for which this album should be instantly disowned by music lovers everywhere. If that phrase doesn't completely irritate you by the end of this song, then you obviously have different tastes to me ;o)

This is followed by a number which would be saccharine sweet and super-sickly if it wasn't for the downright insincerity of Anderson's vocals. This song is unremarkable - except in that it'll make you think of the Byrds at their worst.

Survival closes off this collection with another remarkably Clouds-sounding number (see - it was worth me telling you about them earlier!). This is about the closest that this album gets to proper prog, as it's full of dynamic and texture changes, it's 6-minutes+, and genuinely explores a cool texture world.

This is all ruined at 2:15, when Anderson starts to bleat on about life having begun or somesuch trite nonsense. His voice is in stark relief to the cool music - this may be down to the production, but not entirely. Again, the notes are bleated out with little or no variation in dynamic or any form of expression that suggests anything else other than the vocals being delivered - or some other such sterile term.

Collectors only

In short, an album with moments of great music, longer periods of dull and directionless dross, and (what seems to me at any rate) eternities of vocals that appear to sit on a single note and issue the lyrics rather in the fashion of a dalelk - but also an album made by a band with a great deal of potential, and the ability to keep a decent groove running.

Report this review (#172319)
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars A very ambitious Yes, with a more psychedelic sound. Albeit psychedelic, I still love this record. It's very original, nobody was doing covers like this, other than Vanilla Fudge.

Beyond And Before, to be honest, has the lyrics of a Yes songs you'd hear later on in their discography. Bruford's drumming is much more staright ahead and to be honest, I really like it. The drums sounds much better on this record, they sound somewhat stuffy on the later records. Overall decent song. (8.5/10)

I See You, originally a The Byrd's song. This is the song that got me into progressive rock. There's so much progressive about it. In the days of casette tapes, my dad took this out of the library and played it for me. I was just baffled, it's amazing. The organ playing is very atmospheric and the drumming is amazing. My favorite part is the break that comes right after the Banks/Bruford clash duet. That part is nothing short of amazing and energetic. This song is nothing short of awesome. (10/10)

Yesterday And Today, a short little acoustic ballad written by Anderson. A nice singing job on a catchy little song. (9/10)

Looking Around, this was THE song. The song everyone loved by Yes in their psychedelic era. What's not to love? It's short, catchy, energetic and on top of that, it's the single! What a nice little song. It also features the first Yes unison between Kaye and Banks. (9/10)

Harold Land, is a song about an old man who leaves for war, and when he comes back, everything has changed. Pretty nice concept. This song is very progressive, especially the break with the piano near the middle of the song. The Marching soldiers, in the rain part is very well written. Great song. (9/10)

Every Little Thing, a great advancement on the original Beatles song. This song I found to be very good, especially the beginning, with the guitar solo and the drumming. Then, everyone breaks for Jon Andersons heavenly voice. Amazing track. (9.5/10)

Sweetness is a mediocre ballad, I didn't find it all that good. (7/10)

Survival, starts out with an amazing guitar line, like somethign led Zeppelin would play. Then the organ/guiar unison before the break. So it wasn't Steve Howe who thought of the unisons after all! The song becomes this slower piece which ultimately goes nowhere after that frenetic opening. (7/10)

As far as bonus tracks go, they all sund the same, because it's almost five different versions of one song. Something's Coming I found to be really cool, with an almost solo by Bill Bruford. Overall, solid album, just not as high as the progressive monsters Yes let out later on in their career. 3 stars.

Report this review (#174666)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes started out with a very good album that gave very few hints of where they were going to go. Squire's prominent bass and the emphasis on vocal harmonies are about the only things that Yes would take forward with them into their epic career. (Strangely enough, the much worse Time and a Word had far more elements of Yes music. They just didn't get them to work until the The Yes Album.) The music is firmly stamped in the psychedelic genre and there is a jazzy feel to several of the tracks that Yes abandoned early on. Bruford's work is more conventional than you would be used to, Kaye adds much less to the mix than he would on later albums and Peter Banks's guitar parts are rough and raw compared to what he would put out after leaving Yes. Still, this is a very likeable work. I quite enjoy the first six tracks (although be aware that some have a very different opinion of Harold Land.) My only quibble is with the last two. Sweetness is an early and awful example of what happens when Yes lets Jon dominate a track. This is still in the '60's, so Jon is singing about love instead of harmonic convergence (the reference here is to Holy Lamb off of Big Generator), but it sucks at least as badly. Survivor gets a lot of good press and I've never understood why. The lyrics are pretty good, and Kaye is awake and at the wheel on this one (heck he and Banks do some shadowing work in the opening that foreshadows what Howe and Wakeman would do so brilliantly on tracks like Roundabout [but in reverse, as Banks is shadowing Kaye, not the other way around]). But when you get to the meat of it, it's another syrupy vocal extravaganza like Sweetness, although this time with good harmonies and an edge. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that Survivor is an ok track but not really my cup of tea.

Anyhow, I'll give this 3 stars. Nearly all of this is good, but there is nothing stellar, almost nothing progressive and a rough edge that Yes would need time to refine.

Report this review (#175756)
Posted Sunday, June 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Proto-Yes

This debut album by my all time favourite band is good, but quite rough. This music is similar to Deep Purple's first three albums and had Yes only made two albums they would probably be in the Proto-Prog category and be as obscure today as bands like Cressida and Spring. Deep Purple too had a habit of recording heavily rearranged Beatles songs on their albums - great fun.

The trademarks in Jon's vocals and Chris' bass are in development and would evolve considerably over the next two albums. This album has mostly historical value, but for fans it can have considerable listening pleasures as well.

A good debut album, by a band that was soon to become (one of) the greatest of all time.

Report this review (#176974)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars For a band that progressed to the very pinnacle of modern music, this is most definitely an underwhelming beginning.

More than that. It's actually cringe-worthy in places. YES were yet to find anything that set them apart from the squirming mass of psych-jazz bands of the late 60s. Other bands from that scene did this sound far better. It is only with the song 'Survival' that anything worth salvaging appears from this rather pointless debut.

So, what have we got? Competent musicianship married to a distinct lack of compositional skill and a stark lack of confidence. Prog rock was built on an arrogance, a belief that one could stretch the borders of rock, but this (barely) proto-prog album album stays firmly within quite narrow confines. The songs don't really go anywhere, and many of the arrangements (Harold Land is all the example you need) are so ponderous it's no wonder. Lots of swirly organ music with no climactic moments. Interesting but unadventurous vocal harmonies, conservative arrangements and rather naive jazz moments make up the bulk of the album - along with poorly thought out covers of BEATLES and BYRDS songs. I'll acknowledge that the jazz improv on 'I See You' is excellent, but it does nothing for me, seeming dreadfully out of place. Regrettably, the lyrics to this album actually make sense most of the time, and are unimaginative and mundane. Most disappointingly of all, this album does not reflect the imagination with which they approached their live work at the time.

In summary, this is a record that few people would listen to if it wasn't for what the band subsequently became. History aside, there's really no reason anyone needs this record, especially since 'Survival', the only outstanding track, is included on compilations. Few memorable moments and fewer hints of what this band would become.

Report this review (#178313)
Posted Monday, July 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes - 'Yes' 3.5 stars

A solid start.

The amount of criticism I can develop for this album is very minuscule. This was a generally liked album at the time, but lacked the exposure because of the juggernaut (Led Zeppelin) that took the world by storm that same year. Founding members Jon Anderson and Chris Squire created something beautiful from the start.

The Yes sound on this album is brought out through a team effort. Jon Anderson's vocal work is probably the most recognizable in all of music history due to the description of it being 'angelic' for his clarity in the higher registers. Co-founder Chris Squire decided to go against the populace and create melodious hooks rather than just sticking to the typical bass job. Recruit Bill Bruford would obviously become more recognized by his talents in the likes of King Crimson and solo-work, but he dedicated a solid performance on every Yes album due to his superiority in jazz leanings. Peter Banks guitar work was essential to the Yes sound to a degree of where it was during this period. Yes was not even close to a progressive band at this time, but was tons more sophisticated then the whole lot. Peter's eclectic guitar sound made a simple album given a lot more energy and diversity to it. Tony Kaye's work is the only criticism I could draw, it just wasn't too noticeable.

The album can be described as fast-tempo and upbeat. It is made up entirely of short songs that each have their necessary catchy moments and clever hooks. The debut album is very fitting for a party or a night at the bar after a tough day at work. Recommended for the prog fan that can take the occasional pop album and to virtually all Yes fans. A fine album indeed.

Report this review (#182637)
Posted Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good beginning for Yes!Quite better debut in comparison with Genesis' debut.Eponymous Yes' album carries the spirit of the music from the 60s.It is influenced by rock & roll and psychedelic rock from the 60s.It is important fact that when this album was released,progressive rock genre had yet to be formed in its real sense.And this album is one of the first progressive rock albums of all time and has helped the genre shaped exactly.I want to mention the two cover songs onto the album - I See You from The Byrds and Every Little Thing from The Beatles.This songs are good enough,but it is normal,because they aren't works from this rookies (at that time) - Yes.Most of the songs are naive and simple,excluding the first and the last song - respectively Beyond and Before and Survival.They are really good songs.Harold Land contains some creative elements.This album is important moment for the shaping of the genre,but that's almost all about it.
Report this review (#184303)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Yes first album is quite pleasant and, given the time it was released, very promising and interesting. I guess most fans did not follow Yes discography chornologically and seeing this way, this CD may sound weak compared to such massive classics like The Yes Album or Close To the Edge. But that´s unfair. It was s solid, good start for an young and unknown act. It was obvious the band wa still trying to find their sound, you can tell their influences here very clearly (notably, The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel). And yet, they were able to write good, different and interesting songs.

The centerpiece of the Yes sound here is Survival. This mini epic showed how strong and original songwriters they would become in a few years and it´s a good display of the group´s tighness as a band. Jon Anderson´s trademark angelic vocals are already developed and are one of the highlights on this LP. Another personal favorite is Looking Around (great hammond organ on this one!). The bold arrangements for I See You is another good feature. Other than those, the remaining songs are nice, but just that. It was a tentative period and the group did release a strong debut for the time.

I have a soft spot for this first release. It is far from perfect: it´s more like a blueprint for bigger things to come. It´s a chance to see one of the greatest groups of rock history on its infancy. And you can see they were special from day one.

Report this review (#186149)
Posted Friday, October 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Yes was beginning to find their sound before The Yes Album, I believe, as elements of what they would become are scattered throughout this very good first recorded effort. Tony Kaye's keyboard work stands out a tad more on this album than on any other Yes release with him on board. Peter Banks shows himself to be a capable guitarist (even though he would not be long for the world of Yes). Chris Squire's bass work is not as prominent as it will be on most future records, but it definitely stands out. Bill Bruford's drumming throughout the record is not his best by far, but that may have something to do with the fact that half the music here is so mellow; he does get in some fairly exciting drumming on a few tracks, though. Finally, Jon Anderson's voice is youthful, cottony, and far from the maturity he will reach. This was the beginning of something good.

"Beyond and Before" The first song is a great opener, is my second favorite song here, and gives a good overall impression of the band's sound at the time. The vocal melodies are beautiful, the chord progression interesting, and the general musicianship very solid. It is a sprightly and cheerful five minutes; even if one were to pass on Yes's first album, he should have this song somewhere in their collection (as well as the final song).

"I See You" A fast-paced, jazzy rendition of a 1966 song by The Byrds, Anderson doesn't sound right at all singing this, and the silly rhymes don't make for a particularly good song. Banks engages in a quiet solo over Bruford's jazz-inspired drumming before giving his guitar some distortion to let loose on an extended instrumental section with the rest of the band.

"Yesterday and Today" Short, sweet, and simple, this ballad might be a tad too syrupy, but it's okay. The lovely instrumental section is a variation of the vocal melody.

"Looking Around" While this song still retains the pop-rock feel very early Yes had, the organ (especially in the brief introduction) intimate the band's future sound. But the music is rather muddled, and severely weakens an otherwise decent track.

"Harold Land" Again focusing on Kaye's organ and piano abilities, the happy introduction soon gives way to Anderson's vocalizations (and makes me think of how he would use this to great effect in the beginning of "Close to the Edge"). The verse sections are quiet and a somewhat melancholy. The vocal work from everyone is rather shoddy throughout, I think. The final section is a return to the happier (and better) introduction.

"Every Little Thing" Based on the band's collective inspiration taken from The Beatles, it is no surprise they decided to cover one of their songs. The rolling snare and electric guitar in the two-minute introduction makes me think of The Who during their early years for some reason. The song, I feel, goes on far longer than it ought to, even though Banks's guitar work is fairly enjoyable

"Sweetness" Another weak track, this one has Anderson at his most feathery again (as on "Yesterday and Today"). The melody and overall sound is pleasant, but there's just nothing special about this song.

"Survival" My favorite of this album, "Survival" is a song I really wish the band would do a modern live version of. This one qualifies for the tag of "progressive rock" more than anything else on this album. Squire's fat and fuzzy bass tone in the introduction is the most like what it would later be. There is plenty of ride cymbal, keyboard work, and a theme played on electric guitar. All of this fades out, leaving a quiet clean guitar with a lead played on an acoustic twelve-string over it. Anderson's voice is calm and gentle, as it has been on much of this album. The chorus is at once creative and very powerful, and shows the lovely vocal arrangements the band would carry throughout their career. The final moments are a reprise of the earlier guitar theme, and after Squire, Banks, and Kaye take turns playing it, the piece is over.

Report this review (#192315)
Posted Monday, December 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Just a few bands had a great debut album (examples: Beatles, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, VDGG and some others...), and, unfortunately, the Yes' debut album is not a great album, but we can see good songs in it. Let's see it:

I See You: cool cover of The Byrds. Nice playing from Banks and Bruford. It has rhythm, and is very influenced by Jazz. 3,75 stars.

Beyond and Before: good song, a good intro to the album. 3,85 stars.

Looking Around: a song full of energy, with a good beat and keyboard riffs... One of the first compositions by Anderson/Squire, who later would give us songs like 'Perpetual Change', 'South Side of the Sky' and others... 3,85 stars.

Sweetness: they tried to do a beautiful ballad, and almost did it. I feel it lacks something... anyway, it's soft and calm, a great song. 3,85 stars.

Harold Land: catchy song, I can almost dance with it. Some parts are very progressive, though I don't consider this album a completely Prog album. 3,9 stars.

Survival: a very rhythmic song, constructed mainly by an organ riff. Very cool. 3,9 stars.

Yesterday and Today: the calm and melodic song of the album. Nice try from Jon Anderson. The melody is catchy. Not a classic, but I sympathize with it. 3,95 stars.

Every Little Thing: fantastic Beatles cover. I can't say it's better than the original because the original is ALWAYS better, but it's almost there. They really transformed an ordinary rock song from 1964 into a psychedelic/progressive song, with many time changes, beautiful new riffs from Banks, marvelous drum fills from Bill B., and great vocal arrangements, so the result was really impressive. By far, the best song on the album. 4,55 stars.

Good album, it opened some doors to Yes. 3 stars.

Report this review (#204899)
Posted Monday, March 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars It is the late 1969, and Yes have just released their first album. While this album does not reach the majesty of their future releases, it contains strong hints of what was to come.

The album starts strongly enough, with a catchy, up-beat rocker, 'Beyond and Before'. The song is one of the high points of the album, catching the users ears with a catchy tune and fun singing, but it is also an indication that Yes had not completely mastered the idea of prog just yet. (That would happen in 1971 with 'The Yes album').

The album trudges forward, and is filled with many decent tracks, but ultimately hinting at what was to come at the future. "Yesterday and Today" is a gentle song, showing that Yes knew how to do more than just rock out, and hints at some of their future ballads (such as Wonderous Stories and Turn of the Century). Every Little Thing (The Beatles) and I See You (The Byrds) are both covered on this album, and both hint at what would become Yes' best cover (America) by adding more instrumental parts and being made more Yes' own. Every Little Thing is particularly good of the two.

The lyrics had not yet developed to Jon Anderson's spacey flights of fancy that would appear on later albums such as Close To The Edge; there is no "A seasoned witch could rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace" here. The album has some hints of these lyrics in some places ("Time like gold dust brings mind down to level hidden underground", they sing in Beyond and Before), but is full of songs with more concrete lyrics. Harold Land is a good example of it, being one of the few Yes songs to include a narrative; this one about a soldier who goes to war and returns (which foreshadows Yes future epic, Gates of Delirium, which would also be about war).

The album closes on a strong track with Survival, which hints a bit more at the complexity that would come to the forefront of their music in time to come, and would later be mixed in with their 'Big Medley' during their 10th anniversary tour, becoming one of the only songs from this album they played once Steve Howe joined the mix for The Yes Album.

This album is close to a 2 star album, as there are few who would want to listen to it beyond Yes fans. I am going to bump it up to 3 stars, on the strength of it's timing - this is a good album to get to hear the development of the prog scene, but not essential. I am also considering the strength of this albums stronger tracks (Every Little Thing, Harold Land, Beyond and Before, Survival) in this judgment.

Report this review (#231363)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The amount of times this has been called lame is equal to the amount of times the word the has been said in the world, but i beg to differ.

Yes' eponymous debut album is, in my opinion, one of Yes' best albums. There are some things on this album that have remained part of the Yes sound for years to follow. The bass sound here is amazing, and even better than other Yes albums with the fantastic Chris Squire Rickenbacker sound, like Close to the Edge, or Fragile. The vocals are also one of the parts to remain part of Yes' sound for the rest of their discopgraphy, and shows Jon Anderson's voice was young and fresh, yet still good as we know it.

The song-writing here is fantastic, and in my opinion, even better than the writing on Relayer and other albums of such sort. The album has many covers, all of which are performed fantastically and uniquely, with a Yes way of instrumentation and vocality. The cover of Every Little Thing, originally by The Beatles, features twin lead guitar parts and even a mini quote from the Day Tripper riff, also by The Beatles.

Bill Bruford's snare sound has yet to be found here, but it sounds like it's about to be discovered. Peter Banks' sound, later to be heard on bands like Flash and Empire, also, has yet to have seen the light, and will not see the light until only 3 years later, in 1972, with the release of Flash's eponymous debut.

Squire and Anderson sharing vocals on some songs is simply heart-warming, with Anderson's famous non-false-falsetto, yet Chris Squire's yet-to-be-discovered voice, which is rather normal, but he is able to go to low ranges which Jon Anderson would kill to have.

Every song here is great, with Survival's opening riff giving me goosebumps every time I hear it. The feel and arrangement of every song is unique, each to its own special way. Sometimes it seems that the only common ground between every song is the band, in this case being Yes.

So, I end my review with giving Yes' first album 5 stars. Why, some of you may ask, so all I have to tell you, is that you have yet to read my review, and thus have not understood the greatness of this album. So yep, 5/5.

Report this review (#237113)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars 2.5 Stars really

We can't expect many Prog bands to start their career with a Prog masterpiece (Unless we are talking about KING CRIMSON and a few others), a good example is GENESIS, their debut is a pretty decent POP release by a bunch of kids searching for a hit single, but at least they were coherent, they pretended to release a Pop album and released a Pop album.

In the case of the album under review, it's obvious that YES tries to make something transcendental, but I believe they fail miserably creating a hybrid that is not POP, Rock, Prog or even Psyche, what is worst, many of the tracks don't have feet or head, and that's a real problem.

The opener "Beyond and Before" is a good example of what I said in the first paragraph, not a ballad, not a frantic song, not Pop, even when it leans towards this genre, not Rock, even when Peter Banks makes a couple good Rock guitar sections and God knows what Tony Kaye pretends.

As many know, Jon Anderson's voice annoys me, but thee is always Chris Squire to support him with outstanding backing vocals, don't know if it's because Peter Banks, but the vocals in this track are simply horrendous, seem out of tone and if the vocalists would had never practiced together, because sound totally out of time, ruining the track even more.

"I See You" is a cover version of a song by THE BYRDS, nothing special either, but at least this time the jazzy interplay between Peter Banks and Bill Bruford save partially the track, because despite their efforts, the keyboards sound out of place and the vocals even worst.

"Yesterday and Today" is a soft ballad without any pretension, but at least the we know what the band pretends and they seem to achieve it, a soft poppy rack with a simple but beautiful melody, the piano at the end is delightful and even the vocals sound better.

I can't understand why a band capable of recording an excellent Prog track as "Looking Around" seems incapable of repeating the formula, lets be honest, this the first time I listen the real YES. Tony Kaye is impeccable and even advanced for 1969, and the rhythm section works perfectly......Incredibly I love the vocals, but most important, the structure is extremely interesting, with radical changes and impressive arrangements. If only the whole album was as good as this...

Please, somebody tell me what this guys were thinking about when recording Harold Land? Not only the Flower Power thing sounds outdated today, but the song is boring from start to end, what a disappointment.

"Every Little This" is a good Beatles Cover, probably the best one ever done after this track, but still not convincing, but at least it's nice to listen it for nostalgic purpose, something that doesn't happen with "Sweetness", a track that should had never been recorded, lack of transcendence and boring from start to end.

Before ending the album, YES included an excellent song, "Survival" is a good classical track by the band, not remotely the best they have done, but in the context of the self titled debut, seems like a masterpiece. Good closer.

Now, rating "Yes" is a real problem, a couple tracks are outstanding, at least enough to consider the album average, but on the other hand, I rated better debuts like ELP'S with three stars and "Yes" is not remotely in that level.

So despite "Looking Around" and "Survival" I will have to go with two stars.

Report this review (#243699)
Posted Thursday, October 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes - Yes (3.5/5 stars) Original Release: July 25, 1969


Beyond and Before (4 stars) The lyrics see in a mystical way a winter forest as transparent to the eternal. There is good rock here upheld by a muscular bass line. The coda brings the energy down.

I See You (3 stars) This song moves quickly but settles into a softer, jazzy mode with multiple voices singing. The lyrics describe an anima projection in dynamic imagery. The song builds in volume but quietens when it reaches an instrumental improvisation. The guitar musings contain interesting phrases. The improvisation shifts into a harder rock mode until the rhythm section takes over before dropping back into the vocals again. The rhythmic, staccato of the coda echoes the climax of the improvisation.

Yesterday and Today (3 stars) Hippie, mystical love song with quiet instrumentation. The lyrics are classic Jon Anderson poetry that captures a meaning in a mystically self-referencing way:

There's only us simply because thinking of us makes us both happy

Looking Around (3 stars) Upbeat song. The lyrics seem to be about how we can transform our view of the world with a chance encounter that brings the key to finding that meaning. What inspires then pays forward.

Harold Land (4 stars) Long instrumental introduction that forms a grand entry into the song. Then the song quietens for the vocals. The lyrics describe a young man who went to war as an officer and came back an emotional shell. This is done effectively in three concise sections. The vocals are passionate about their subject. The instrumental sections which frame the song seem, with repeated listening, seem to dissociate from the vocal portions of the song. Sort of like a picture frame that doesn't match the picture.

Every Little Thing (4 stars) Intense instrumental introduction with great drums here. The band dances instrumental circles around this Beatles tune. The energy (which can seem relentless at times) in this song reflects the energy of the whole album. The instrumental section contrasts the mood of the vocal section but to no known artistic end. It is as if the band is struggling to reach its progressive style inspite of its 60s launching pad; another way in which this song might reflect the album and the band.

Sweetness (3 stars) Dreamy song about a deeply empathetic partner. Jon Anderson's lyrics already reveal his penchant for creating his own mystic terminology and re-using it;

I'll ask her for some time to go and look around; She puts the sweetness in with a sound.

This song and "Yesterday and Today" have a less hectic pace so they give the listener to the album a break from the album's high energy.

Survival (4 stars) Instrumental intro which transitions into a peaceful guitar and organ section making a nice contrast and diffusing the energy. Great lyrics that suggest that escape from danger is only transitory and that death is inescapable; but still you must hold onto life with eyes open. Jon Anderson's hippie exterior covers a serious thinker.

Album: Yes' first album shows their 60s pop style wrestling with intense instrumental power that would become a staple of much of progressive rock. This album could be considered proto-prog or crossover prog for its complexification of pop/rock songs. Yes's strong instrumental skills set the standard that other progressive rock bands would be compared to. Yes fans should appreciate this album.

MP3 recommendation:

Yes EP (4 stars) 1. Beyond and Before (4 stars) 2. Harold Land (4 stars) 3. Every Little Thing (4 stars) 4. Survival (4 stars)

An EP would give one a representative dose of this early Yes without leaving you quite as "over-caffinated" as the whole album might.

Report this review (#244362)
Posted Monday, October 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Unlike many fans and critics, I am particularly fond of the early YES - "The Bruford period" - and among these first two albums are usually brutally overlooked.

Yes debut was a surprisingly mature work for 1969 and I can almost hear all key ingredients of the giant of prog rock to come. Of course, Howe's guitar would later become one of the symbols of the band sound while none could deny the Wakeman's attractive virtuosity on the keyboards. But for me, Tony Kaye was a damn good organist on this brilliant debut, while Banks provided some fine, even if rare, guitar slices and picks. Anderson/Squire leadership did an excellent musical arrangement and their songwriting is very decent, if not highly sophisticated yet. Bruford was and still is one of the best drummers out in the world, bar none.

Of course, you cannot deny this was the work of novices and paying tributes to their idols is a normal thing for a young band. But what YES did with THE BEATLES' "Every Little Thing" and especially with THE BYRDS' "I See You" was more than that: these are examples of early experimenting and progressing towards new musical landscapes, jazz or psychedelia. Bruford/Banks jazzy jamming in the latter is almost precursor to the coming age of fusion.

Of their originals, "Harold Land" and "Survival" are perhaps the strongest pieces containing excellent melodies and fine musicianship that was to characterize future progressive rock development. Kaye's organ is brilliant in the way you almost do not notice its presence in the music! Just compare this to the debut of GENESIS, VAN DER GRAAF, or any of THE NICE or MOODY BLUES albums of 1969 and you will hear what I mean.

The album was probably unlucky to appear during the year of the heavy rock boom (just remember first two ZEPPELIN albums!) so it was somehow overlooked. But do not miss this opportunity now when there is a remastered version with excellent sound available (+ several bonus tracks including 2 version each of brilliant BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD hommage "Everydays", "Dear Father" and particularly interesting "Something's Coming" theme from Bernstein's "The West Side Story").


P.A. RATING: 4/5

Report this review (#248016)
Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is a good pop rock album in the Yes catalouge, but not very good in the progressive rock area that we know Yes for. It sounds a lot like the Beatles, except for a more aggressive bassist. The lyrics are not as sophisticated as they would be in the other Yes albums, but it seems so charming to listen to this album because of how different it is from the other albums that they have put out.

"Beyond and Before" is alright, a good track. Chris Squire, you can tell, is a little under developed on this track with some very strong parts but with some very sour notes. It's a very reminisant of the Beatles sound. The guitar by Peter is okay. The vocal harmonies are very good on this track. "I see you", written by Jim McGuinn and David Crosby is an enjoyable track, the first one where you hear Jon singing with Chris and Peter Banks, and only by hmiself as well. It's a nice upbeat song and its uplifting. It has a good catchy rythym that is infectious. "Yesterday and Today" is a ballad kind of song, and it's fairly weak. The vocals are soft, but I don't find this song very interesting. "Looking Around" has some very nice vocal harmonies and some nice organs on this song. It's farily upbeat, though the lyrics are obviously subpar. It's not the best on the album, but not the worst. "Harold Land" isn't great, but has some nice piano. The lyrics are fairly good overall, but the music isn't so catchy for me and it isn't challenging for me. "Every little thing," written by John Lennon and Paul Mcartney isn't very good. It's got a really loud rythym section by Bill Bruford and Chris Squire, but it just dosen't seem to catch on to me. "Sweetness" starts with a very pretty organ part, then it gets nice and soft when Chris, Peter, and Bill enter. The vocal harmonies are to die for on this song, honestly. The lyrics are about love, but this song is rewarding in the end. "Survival" has some nice bass, cool effects by Chris. It's the first track that you can tell where they are going, and where Chris is going with that Rickenbacker bass! The guitar is pretty nice and soft on this track, but overall it's quite a heavy track because of the bass line giving the depth and high end to the track. It starts to get quiet near the middle with some nice acoustic guitar. A nice way to close an album!

Though this album isn't as good as albums like "Fragile," "Close to the Edge," "Tales from Topographic Oceans," or "Relayer" but this is a decent start. Lineup changes would make the overall sound of Yes different, but never forget the sweet beginnings. A 2 stars because it's not true prog rock.

Report this review (#249076)
Posted Sunday, November 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes is one of the most celebrated prog acts of all time. On PA, Yes is usually seen at the top row (if not the first entry) of the ''Most Popular Artists'' part on the top bar of the review area. However, Yes was not always a symphonic progressive band; they started of as a psych/pop band, and the debut is proof.

Yes isn't about tricky instrumental showcasing, complex song structures or obscure lyrical content just yet. Every song here aims at creating a pretty melody over lush soundscapes and hippie sentimentals. In essence, it's Yes at their most 60's-ish and for my money, a rather boring affair.

There are still elements of future Yes glory here like Chris Squire's bass sound (especially on ''Harold Land'') and Yes's stellar vocal harmonies. It's not terribly bad; in particular, three of the last four tracks (''Harold Land'', ''Every Little Thing'' and ''Survival'') are quite stellar. However, songs like ''Sweetness'' and ''Yesterday and Today'' are too pretty for my tastes and the others are strictly non-essential in my eyes.

This album is reserved for the Yes-nut curious enough to figure out where they came from, or the bored Yes fan (like myself at one point) to acquire every album. It's an overall non- essential album.

Report this review (#261818)
Posted Thursday, January 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars what the Flower People Say

Progtologists have long known that their beloved musical form had its roots in psychedelic rock, and yet the exact move from hippies to prog-heads has been a point of controversy for decades. After much debate, the missing link has been identified, and its name is YES. Not just the band, but the debut album itself, with its low budget cover art, heavy jazz influence and plenty of flower power. Some have claimed this album inspired Spinal Tap's first hit, though this author is fairly certain that entire band is based almost entirely on Deep Purple.

In all seriousness, this album may be the best example of "proto-prog" that exists. As Yes went on to be perhaps the main standard bearer of the prog genre, it is natural to look at their early work for the music form's roots. As it turns out, Yes produced some of the best psychedelic rock out there. Where rock and roll in general, and psychedelic rock specifically, could be quite loose and musically inconsistent, Yes' debut album displays great talent, honed compositions, and great consistency. If, like me, you like psychedelic rock, this is a near masterpiece. The harmony vocals are strong. The interplay of organ and guitar is superb. I would argue that what really sets this album apart is the jazzy playing of Bill Bruford. Already he's clearly far ahead of his peers, and the incorporation of his more complex rhythmic sense was integral in what was to come.

When you're starting place is already better than virtually every peer, it's a good sign of things to come. And the seeds that are on this album are obviously what were developed into one of the signature sounds of the progressive rock movement. Chris Squire's bass sound is already in the forefront, active and an integral part of the arrangements. The use of multiple textures, often within the same song, is performed with ease. Many of Jon Anderson's signature melodic choices are already in place. There are places where the organ clearly looks forward to the more active role it will play. Peter Banks' guitar is extremely well done, but is rooted more in rock n roll than replacement Steve Howe's. (This change may have been THE key in the evolution of the Yes sound.)

I'm a hippie at heart and I really love this album, as you can see. YES is going to hold interest for any prog fan, but for those who love 60's music and prog, this is a must have.

Report this review (#262331)
Posted Sunday, January 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars YES is what a debut should be. It didn't shake the earth like 'Court of the Crimson King', yet it wasn't (immediately) disregarded as another group of hippies trying to copy the Beatles. The album is harmless and fun, but with a strange sort of presence that is at first, hard to pinpoint. Perhaps it's the flower-power vocal harmonies that don't quite mix with the famously jagged basslines, or the detuned, strictly-jazz drumming style that doesn't quite blend with the hard- edged rock organ. I believe, that what grabs the listener's attention and makes them think "hmmmm, interesting...", is the whole mis-matched diversity of the band, and the album as a result.

Yes IS a diverse record indeed, but not in a particularly impressive way. It's diversity isn't as intentional as ELP's 'Works Volume II', or as roundedly effective as Led Zep's 'Houses of the Holy'. It's simply a melting pot of styles and influences; rushed in places, quirky yet innocent, with sloppy production. But for yes fans who can now regard the band's career as a whole (with the knowledge of what was to come 3 years later), these irritations can be forgiven and put down to it being Yes's first attempt at music making. Especially as there are those shining moments which seem to predict the future of the band: the structure of 'Survival' for instance, with it's "smoky jazz club" introduction. Or the instrumentation of "Harold Land", where each verse's decoration lends itself to the story being told with a professionalism that is worlds apart from the pop sensibilities of 'Sweetness' or 'Dear Father'. What Yes does as an album, is create a beginning. It starts the climb up the progressive mountain, which, although makes it clearly inferior to the records which dominate the peak (CTTE, Tales, and Relayer), it can still be seen as having more potential than those albums on the other side of the mountain. If the "peak" lies in the middle, then the albums before it can be forgiven, but what excuse does 'Tormato' have for being so poor?

Report this review (#277847)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The 1969 debut by Yes has a distinctly West Coast feel with the Crosby, Stills & Nash-style harmonies of the spirited BEYOND AND BEFORE among others, and the 7-minute cover of The Byrds' jazzy, raga-influenced I SEE YOU. The latter is notable for Peter Banks' guitar improvisation, with Bill Bruford's drums providing the sole accompaniment, midway through the song. Jon Anderson's YESTERDAY AND TODAY is a straightforward love-ballad, enlivened by some pleasant electric piano. Keyboardist Tony Kaye then plays some mean Hammond on LOOKING AROUND and HAROLD LAND, but these are really little more than pop songs. HAROLD LAND reminds me of early Genesis for some reason; they had released their debut album earlier in the same year and, of course, 1969 was a significant year for progressive debuts.

The album's second cover version, The Beatles' EVERY LITTLE THING, almost tops the 6- minute mark and includes some heavy jamming with Banks throwing in a few cheeky 'Day Tripper' motifs for good measure. It sounds fresh and spontaneous, not words I would normally use to describe Yes, and it's one of the album's highlights. SWEETNESS is another dreamy little ballad that includes the immortal line: ''She puts the sweetness in and stirs it with a spoon''. Fortunately Jon Anderson redeems himself with the album's tour de force, SURVIVAL. Chris Squire's rousing bass intro gives way to a jazzy groove that has Bruford supplementing his drums with some sparkling vibes. The main part of the song builds in intensity, from subdued verses to a vigorous chorus... splendid stuff. Ok, so this doesn't come close to any of their monster albums but it is a nice collection of songs with some progressive leanings. Good, but definitely not essential.

Report this review (#278876)
Posted Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars 5/10

Yes' debut album is completely in the shadow of the other immense works of the band, and for a good reason.

In 1969, when Progressive Rock had found it's masterpiece, "In The Court Of The Crimson King", this new genre was starting to blossom. One of the first examples is the debut album by legendary act Yes. Like many debut albums at the time, this album can't help being immature, innocent, and inconsistent, but they are loads of innocent sounding albums of that era that truly capture the essence of youth and innocence. Sadly, this album fails to do so, not completely, but in many points.

Only a band like King Crimson and their debut album can really capture what Progressive Rock was all about, and what it still is. It was the ideal album, of immediate maturity. However Yes was not like that; the progressive influences are here, because of slower passages, keyboards, and noticeable jazz influences, in the musicianship and also in the melodies. There are still vague hints of psychedelic rock aftermath, which makes this debut actually a transition between the musical evolution of Psych and Prog. The musicians are very immature sounding, it really feels like they were playing for the first time: Jon Anderson sounds very amateurish in particular, and is a lot of times accompanied vocally, which puts him a bit in the shadow. The only musician I can sense actual instant talent here is Chris Squire on bass, giving pretty impressive bass lines. As for the rest, they still have to mature quite a bit.

No one can deny that they are precious and catchy moments here, like the opener "Beyond And Before", or even better "Looking Around", incredibly memorable. But I'm not uncomfortable in saying that some songs here are just pretty bad; the Beatles cover "Every Little Thing" is really annoying, and I never actually was a fan of the original song either; both "Sweetness" and "Survival|" feel absolutely unnecessary and empty, despite being eleven minutes together. "I See You", the second track of the album, has a good atmosphere, however the melody is not appealing to me at all, and the worst part is that it's not forgettable, it easily gets stuck in your head.

A mediocre album I didn't really enjoy much, and thought it wasn't the glorious album Yes deserve to have as a debut.

Report this review (#279010)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars I didn't get this one until after I got the live album by Yes. By that time I was collecting everything by the band I could get my hands on. All their albums were must haves for me.

I wasn't really that thrilled with this music a whole lot, although, there are some good tunes on it. The standouts are "I See You," which has some cool jazzy runs. I also liked "Beyond and Before." I used to play the opening lick when I was loosening up on the guitar.

"Looking around" is another good one that I sing sometimes. Very memorable.

"Every Little Thing" by the Beatles is done in a new and interesting way. The rest of the album is not very memorable.

Yes plays and sings well, but they are trying to get something going here that didn't completely work to their advantage. What was good about this band is that the more they tried, the better they got, for about 25 years anyway.

I am going to reluctantly give this album 2 stars because the songs I mentioned are worth a few listens.

Report this review (#281425)
Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes started out as a conversation between Anderson and self-taught bassist Chris Squire at a bar where Anderson was essentially the janitor. Both had been in various bands previously, but with little or no success. Anyway, the two discovered that they had similar music interests; both loved rich vocal harmonies, but more than that, both were interested in the idea of fusing rock, pop, jazz, and folk with classical music (well, with their relatively simplistic understanding of classical music, anyway), of all things. The two hit it off well enough that they decided to get together and, sure enough, form a band.

After a bit of scouring, the two of them came up with the following cast to round out the ensemble; keyboardist Tony Kaye, who had a solid, if somewhat boring, organ and keyboard style (he wasn't really big on the tinkly piano and keyboard parts that would pop up a lot in Yes' later work); Peter Banks, a terrific lead guitarist with a good tone and a feel for jazz (actually, there wasn't much scouring involved here, as Banks and Squire had been together in a band called The Syn previously); and drummer Bill Bruford, who had, surprise surprise, a wonderful familiarity with jazz technique to go with traditional rock drumming.

Now, given that Yes has gone down in history as the quintessential prog rock group, you'd expect the debut to be a genre-defining album along the lines of In the Court of the Crimson King, right? Well, you might expect that, but you'd be wrong. Elements of their future style can certainly be found, primarily in the extended introductions before a number of the songs, but Close to the Edge this is certainly not. But that doesn't make it bad!! After all, who ever said that "conventional" music was automatically inferior to complex pieces? For one thing, the two short ballads, "Yesterday and Today" and "Sweetness," are simply beautiful. Anderson takes a much more traditional approach to singing on these songs than he would again for many years, which puts off several fans, but it's entirely possible that even if you hate Anderson's voice, you'll get a kick out of his singing on these songs. Heck, on the BBC Sessions, you can even hear the announcer say before "Sweetness," "This man has a lot of soul in his voice"! And, of course, the melodies are very pretty.

Another distinguishing feature of this from the "classic" albums is the presence of cover tunes, both of which rule. "I See You" is a jazzy version of the Byrds song of the same name, with some great guitar noodling and lots of energy accompanying a wonderful melody. Even better is the total demolition that the group does to the Beatles' "Every Little Thing," from Beatles For Sale. Originally, it was a cute pop song with nice vocal harmonies and a good melody - here, the introduction is a blood-thirsty prog-jazz monster, giving absolutely no hint of the actual nature of the song itself (in fact, one might even be thrown off by the quotes of "Day Tripper" here and there). And fortunately for all, the vocal harmonies are able to do some justice to the original ones, so even if the beginning scares you, solace can be taken in the main part of the song.

The other four songs are forces to be reckoned with as well. My longtime favorite is the side- one closer, "Looking Around." The organ riff is superb, the guitar groove is firmly set in place, and Anderson does a fabulous job with the non-trivial vocal melody. The best part of the song for me, though, is certainly the middle-section, with Jon belting over the descending organ line and creating the illusion that his part is descending too although it isn't.

The other three are nearly as good, though. The opening "Beyond and Before" has a booming opening riff courtesy of Squire's bass (his work on this album is typically phenomenal, and certainly was a giant factor in the Melody Maker declaring Yes to be one of two groups "most likely to make it" based on this album, the other group being Led Zeppelin), eerie three-part harmonies, and a mild dose of the deconstructionistic tendences that would dominate their later work. Same goes for the closing "Survival," the closest thing to a progressive composition to be found on this album. I for one consider the introduction to the piece terrific - the bassline is eerie, and the rest of the intro, while not incredibly complex, is untrivial while remainging interesting. And the main body, while meandering a bit at times, picks up steam and focus near the end of each verse leading into the chorus.

Finally, there's also the slightly-inferior-but-still-quite-good "Harold Land," the story of a young man scarred inside by the ravages of war. The strangest feature of it, overall, is the vast dynamic between the bouncy and happy introduction and the sad, ominous main melody, but it's not like the song only has novelty value. Anderson isn't able to do a great job in making us feel for Harold, but his vocals are certainly pasable on the track, and the lyrics aren't bad either.

All in all, this is certainly an album, worth having, especially since it can be found easily for less than $10. Besides, even if you hate progressive rock (of course, if that's the case, why on earth are you here?), it would be a shame not to own something by these guys, and since Yes was a fully professional and exciting group from the very beginning, this may as well be it.

Report this review (#285878)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The old cliche of rock criticism says that, usually, the first two albums are the best most rock groups have to offer. For one of progressive rock's atypical acts, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, who as we all know are forever branded the 'atypical' prog-rock group by non-fans and various other music critics, started out with this slightly underwhelming, self-titled slab of proto-prog rock that was released to minor critical acclaim in 1969. Featuring Jon Anderson(vocals), Tony Kaye(keys), Peter Banks(guitar), Chris Squire(bass) and Bill Bruford(drums), 'Yes' failed to hit the commercial peaks of their later releases but did show that they were a group with promise who were willing to experiment with structure of rock music in a way that garnered them a lot of industry attention, thus insuring that they didn't go the way of many other similar bands and disappear after just one album. Soundwise, the group were peddling a faster but similar kind of symphonic rock to their fellow luminaries Procol Harum, just with wilder guitars and less emphasis on catchy melodies. Excepting a couple of tracks, notably the sweet-toned 'I See You' and the swirling, organ-coated psych-rock of 'Survival', this is very much a rough and formative album, displaying a bunch of musicians who have obvious ability but, at this juncture at least, are not too sure how to use it. Die-hard Yes fans might find more to cherish than your average progger, but in the grand scheme of things Yes' debut is, all things considered, pretty mediocre. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Report this review (#293396)
Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yes debut was released in 1969, and for it's time it's really a good album! Being based on jazzy-psychedelic rock, there are plenty of what will be their symphonic prog signature very soon.

Musicians play really excellent, as for debut, and I especially like rhythm section. Anderson's voice has it's specific timber, still not in full though.Strongly influenced by psychedelia of that time, music shows some trends to be more keyboards based and epic,than average band of the time.

For me this album sounds as good starting point - still no own sound or good compositions could be found there, but every musicians and team in whole shows their capability. For sure, more album for band fans, it still stay higher than many of their post 80-s albums in my book.

In other words, if you're know and like 4-5 Yes classic albums and searching for more, don't move ahead, better return to their roots, you will find there better music, than on band's later works!

Report this review (#307873)
Posted Monday, November 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now, here's the case of a severely underrated album. Honestly, you've got some pretty strong songs on here and you have to cut Yes a break, I mean this was their first album! Before I go song by song, I'd just like to comment on the packaging and sound quality of the remastered edition. First off, it comes with a pretty big booklet with some cool artwork, photos, and a story of the band at the time. It also comes with lyrics. And as for as the sound quality goes, it is quite good, but having never heard the original I can't really compare the two. Anyway, here it goes song by song.

1. Beyond and Before- A pretty good opener but isn't one of the strongest on the album, imo. However, it does have some great vocals and you definitely know it's Yes. 7.5/10

2. I See You- By far one of the best songs on the album. It's a great cover that really brings you up when you're down (if that makes any sense). But anyway, it's such a great song that also showcases what great musicians these guys were. 10/10

3. Yesterday and Today- It's truly a shame that no one ever really mentions this one. It's a short ballad but it's a truly beautiful song. Jon Anderson's got such a great voice, man. It gets a solid 9.5/10

4. Looking Around- This one is definitely a rocker but I kind of think it's overrated. It's really not one of my favorites, but that's not to say that its a bad song. It's actually not bad. It's got some good influences. 7/10

5. Harold Land- Squire's bass kicks this song off to a great start. So much energy from these guys. This is great song with some deep lyrics that are actually pretty sad when you think about it. Good stuff. 9/10

6. Every Little Thing- I can't believe i'm saying this, because The Beatles are my favorite band, but I kind of think this cover is better. It's got better vocals than the original and an impressive two minute jam session in the beginning. Day tripper reference in here! 9/10

7. Sweetness- No other way to describe this one other than a nice, relaxing song. It's got some great vocals. What a beautiful song, man. I think was actually the single from this album (or the B side) or something. 8.5/10

8. Survival- Yes's first sort of epic though it's not quite long enough. After the first two minutes this one really gets great. I love the part when it was like "Never doubt the fact there's life within you." and stuff. Man, that part is beautiful. I'm glad they still keep this one around, sort of. 9.5/10

Overall, this deserves a higher rating than it has. You should honestly just pick this one up. I got it for like $6.99 and it was definitely worth it.

Report this review (#312652)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is quite a decent debut and deserves at least three stars but I don't think it's essential Yes music because they would later develop thier sound more. Having said that there are still lots of strong moments by this great bunch of young musicians.

"Beyond And Before" kicks things off to an enjoyable start. The vocal harmonies are quite uplifting, reminding me very much of the Byrds. The following track "I See You" is actually a cover by the Byrds and a brilliant cover too. The drumming is nice and diverse, there's loads of great guitar and bass moments too. "Yesterday And Today" and "Sweetness" are nice floating ballads. I'll agree that there are noticable Beatles influences in many songs. The organ is strong on tracks like "Looking Around" (one favourite of mine) and "Harold Land". "Every Little Thing" is also a great cover. The ending song "Survival" is also good.

This was a very bold start for Yes. There are plenty of interesting moments on here. I often thought the music also sounds slightly psychedelic and quite good for it's time. If you like some late-sixties rock music you'd probably like this album.

Report this review (#357248)
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars Would I consider this a "good" album if they weren't YES ? Or is it a good album regardless the fact that they are the YES? This is often the problem with a debut album, specially when the listener (me) buys it AFTER having loved things like The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge. Keeping the absolute value of the music separate from the feelings is not easy.

Well, after thinking a lot, this album has some goods inside. Jon's voice is already Jon's voice. If you like his voice and this kind of choirs and vocal arrangements this is a YES album and it's better than most of Jon Anderson's solo works.

The use of the volumes on the guitar is NOT an invention of Steve Howe. I have the impression that Peter Banks has invented a guitar style and when Howe came to replace him he had to play in that way. And he liked it. So now when I listen to him I think to Howe's guitar even if it contains a lot of Banks.

Tony Kaye pays a tribute to the period. His keyboard playing is not very original. The jazzy part of "I See You" sounds like the Doors for example.

Squire is already the Fish and Bruford is and will ever be Bruford.

About the songs, I'm not sure of what is a cover and what is not. "Yesterday and Today" is something that I'm used to skip, even if I have to say that some passages are not so bad and the acoustic guitar work has something of early Genesis.

"Looking Around" could be a "Nice" song, in the sense that it reminds to the NICE. Great guitar and bass work on this track.

There are forgettable moments here and there. The intro of Harold Hand is one of them. The rest of the song is not so bad, but neither good. Jon seems to be in search of a tecnique. There's too much "vibrato" in his singing, like he's trying to sing like Demis Roussos. Later he will be Jon Anderson and nobody else.

"Every Little Thing" has an anticipation of what the YES will become. One of the few tracks that have already the YES trademark. It's a pity that the reminder to the Beatles and the melodic line jeopardize a so good intro. Specially because the guitar solo is surely not bad.

"Sweetness" is the only song that I knew before buying the album. Why did you buy it? You may ask... well it's not a masterpiece, but this is YES music and I like it. Of course I don't pay attention to the lyrics..."She knows what to say to make a sunny day..." it's not Shakespeare for sure.

"Survival" it's a good closer. Finally the Fish can "swim" and there's room for all the band. 1:20 minutes of YES music before the fadeout/fadein gives start to a different song. I suspect it was a long track that has been cut in this way to make it fit in the album's length. Only in this way I can see a sense.

Now it's time to answer to the initial question. Is it a good album? I don't know how many times I have listened to it and my feelings are still controversial. It's non-essential for sure. I think it's mainly a collector item with some spare good moments. I would round it up to 3 stars, but I prefer to keep the rating low and address potential new listeners to the most rated YES albums. I don't regret for the money spent, but there are better albums to start with YES.

Report this review (#365056)
Posted Monday, December 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Yes' debut album is more proto-prog than the symphonic sound we have come to know from them. But this was 1969, and the band was just developing. With Peter Banks and Tony Kaye in the group, you can also hear much of the sound that would define Flash in a few years.

The keyboards are a bit too laid back, and often buried in the mix, and Jon Anderson's falsetto sounding vocals are sometimes grating, but Banks, Chris Squire and Bill Bruford were keeping the music interesting.

Survival (a Jon Anderson composition) is the closest thing to what would become the classic Yes sound, but there are little hints here and there in the rest of the music.

As a debut album, it doesn't compare to King Crimson's or ELP's, but it has value.

Report this review (#410942)
Posted Friday, March 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The debut, self-titled album from Yes definitely isn't extraordinary, but it does display the band's potential for writing interesting music. This music is lightly progressive, and just good music in general. "Beyond and Before" is very uplifting and almost psychedelic poppy rock song that is sure to put anyone in a good mood. The music definitely has the creative sound of Yes, but it's mostly hidden behind a normal late-'60s English rock sound. "I See You" is a rocker with a nice swing to it and is very dance-able, and also includes a nice jazz inspired jam about half way through. I occasionally get a Canterbury Scene sound from this album. "Yesterday and Today" is an absolutely beautiful ballad, especially when compared to the ballads that Yes would make later in their career that aren't nearly as good. "Looking Around" is another psychedelic rock song and is very straight forward, but is also quite catchy and sounds like a much improved version of any song by The Who. "Every Little Thing" is an interesting Beatles cover, and I'm not familiar with the original but I found this track to be heavily Canterbury and psychedelic influenced and is really quite good and shows great guitar work. "Sweetness" is another soft ballad kind of tune, and although it isn't as good as "Yesterday and Today" it still manages to set a lovely mood with fantastic vocal lines, and the song as a whole has a Procol Harum feel to it. "Survival" starts off sounding like one of the better Jimi Hendrix tunes available, but gets jazzy before turning acoustic. This is probably the most experimental and progressive song on the album and is fantastic example of what is to come on Yes' later classic albums.

I think this album is frequently overlooked for not being as wildly experimental or progressive as later material, but I consider this to be some of the best Yes material available. It definitely is less experimental, but it's so very catchy and I feel like anyone could find this album very enjoyable if given a chance.

Report this review (#429352)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#442945)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars The first album by Yes finds a couple of key elements of the band's music already firmly in place - in particular. Jon Anderson's voice has almost reached the angelic falsetto he would become known for, whilst Chris Squire's distinctive and unique bass playing is already there. However, the band were still figuring out their own identity and had not yet hit upon their classic sound, with Anderson and Squire still honing their songwriting chops. The presence of a couple of cover versions from key hippie-folk-psych pioneers - the Byrds and the Beatles - show that the band were still at a stage when they were trying to emulate and live up to their inspirations rather than strike out into uncharted territory. That said, the album does have its charms; in particular, the rowdier tone of Beyond and Before (hailing mainly from Peter Banks' more boisterous guitar sound) makes it an interesting entry to the Yes discography. An intriguing enough album, especially for those who want to see the roots of the band, but nothing those who aren't already hooked on Yes' classic albums need to bother themselves with.
Report this review (#453748)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Boy oh boy, this is really something. Early Yes is incredibly underrated. They have such a RAW feel that vanished after "The Yes Album"... not that their later stuff isn't the best there is! Anyway...

This debut album is wonderful. Peter Banks & Tony Kaye really add a grit to the sound - the harmonies have never been tighter, and all the other elements - Bruford's jazzy flourishes, Chris Squire's bass - are in place. Let's see here...

"Beyond & Before" really sets the pace - Chris' bass heralds the beginning of something great with a high D. The lyrics are a blueprint of what later Yes would say, but a bit more lost in hippy-dippy nonsense than usual. No matter - those are some great riffs, and how! I love the distant piano that appears now and again.

"I See You." Wow. Just - wow. It speeds along at a nice clip. Listening to this, I wonder why Banks was ever replaced. He could PLAY. His jazz licks are incredible, and he certainly chunked those chords harder than Howe ever did (and I like Howe)! The drum/guitar break in the middle is scary good. It's times like this where you start to believe Bruford saying he thought Yes was a jazz group at first! They pull out with another monster riff.

"Yesterday & Today" isn't quite as good as the others, but still good. Jon Anderson doing a straight love song has never sat entirely well with me. But ah, that is a nice piano! And Bruford does a pretty good job on tuned percussion. Simple but subtly beautiful.

WHAM! "Looking Around" ROCKS. THOSE RIFFS. THOSE VOCALS. GET UP, SING! One complaint - the ending section is kinda lame, and a bit static - certainly anti-climactic. Ah well!

I love "Harold Land." It moves through a number of excellent moods, from Big Picture Country Western to pseudo-funeral march. Is that a Mellotron I hear? Very excellent. I wave my hand sadly when I hear it.

"Every Little Thing" is the best Beatles cover in existence. Who else but Yes would start with a two minute apocalypse jam, quoting "Day Tripper," before singing a note? And those harmonies! Exquisite.

Some people don't like "Sweetness." I am not one of those people. Sure, it's kinda slow, and the lyrics are so sugary they could kill a man, but that's a mean 12-string strum I hear. Wobbly EQ floats to the right - Anderson's voice cracks deliciously in the pre-chorus. So, despite its lovey-dovey "shortcomings," it's pretty easy to find something here to dig.

"Survival." This is it, guys. Wah-bass? 12-string interlude? Multiple sections? Kinda Stravinsky-ish? GOOD lyrics? Yup. I yelled this at the top of my lungs once before in self-consolation.

Worth every penny.

Report this review (#478996)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Everything has a beginning...

Anderson, Squire, Kaye, Banks, Bruford were a superstar line up and the excitement generated by their playing was one of the high points of the early 70s as prog came into being. 1969 was an essential year for prog with the release of the new Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis and of course King Crimson's "In The Court of the Crimson King" which perhaps invented the genre as we know it today. Yes were disciples in amongst all these changes and had not quite found their feet as the indispensable prog giants that would release masterpeices such as The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge. This then was their starting point and it was not a prog album but one that was nevertheless full of infectious melodic songs.

A lot of it was inspired by the 60s, The Beatles, and the British invasion that rocketed up the charts. Music was changing with the advent of Vietnam, Woodstock and Neil Armstrong's penultimate giant step. Yes had discovered a spacey psychedelic sound but it is one that is grounded in simple time sigs and rhythms. The incomparable Peter Banks has some chops of course but it is quite subdued here apart from the odd embellishment on certain tracks such as Beyond and Before. The band indulge in cover versions, something that they would not repeat often. I See You belongs to The Byrds and does not sound any better here. Every Little Thing is a little known song from The Beatles that has stood the test of time as being a highlight of this album. Yesterday and Today is catchy and Anderson has a young undeveloped high falsetto. The sugar sacharinne sweetness of er... Sweetness is trite, as is the equally soft billowing flower power nonsense of Harold Land. It perhaps more represents the flower child craze of the late 60s and is as outdated as panel vans and love beads.

The highlights are encased in two tracks. Looking Around has some wonderful moments and is very listenable, especially the instrumental virtuosity of the members, but you have to wait to the end of the album to find an excellent track. The closing number is undoubtedly the best track and defines the Yes we would come to know and love. Survival clocks in at 6 minutes and features some delightful Banks guitars and the irrepressible Bruford and Squire rhythm machine.

Enough said, except that this is definitely NOT the starting point to discover the brilliance of Yes.

Report this review (#530098)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars

"The report of my death was an exaggeration. . . ."

Mark Twain -- 1897

Many times throughout their storied career, the quotation above from Mark Twain could easily have been utilized to describe the condition of Yes. Surely during the waning days of The Tales from Topographic Oceans' tour in 1974, Yes appeared moribund. Rick Wakeman's acrimonious departure only served to accentuate the ostensible need for an autopsy.

Nevertheless, as 1974 drew to its conclusion, the band, now with Patrick Moraz, prepared to bring forth Relayer, an album held in high esteem by the membership of this site. Similarly, following the doldrums of Tormato and the departures of Wakeman (yet again) and Jon Anderson, Squire, Howe, and White, in concert with Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn, released Drama in 1980. Actually, given the incessantly changing membership of Yes, one might assert the band has always existed "close to the edge." I apologize for the bad pun. . . . As of today, I have only listened to this year's Fly from Here once and to the original song dating from 1980 as found on The Word is Live album a few times. So, I cannot comment on these efforts. However, given the combustible nature of any version of Yes, I'd like to make a few observations of what elements we might identify as the enduring manifestations of Yes. To my mind and not-so-proficient ears, one can find the "crystallization" of the band on its first album.

As the opening bass line of "Beyond and Before" illustrates, Chris Squire has always functioned as the somehow simultaneous lead, yet rhythmic center of the band. Squire's nickname is "The Fish," but I think it could just as appropriately be "Gibraltar" - - he has always served as the foundation upon which the music of Yes has been based.

If Squire has been the musical Gibraltar, then Jon Anderson has been the seer and guide of the vessel known as Yes. In a song like "Survival," we find a microcosm or program for the future complexities to follow on the subsequent Yes albums. As original compositions, "Looking Around" and "Harold Land" also hold the promise of things to come.

Let's face it - - the core of Yes has always presupposed the partnership and, yes, rivalry of Squire and Anderson. I have often remarked that, had Yes gone forward with its original five members, the band would have been formidable. Bill Bruford's prowess needs no documentation to the readers of this site. Through creative differences, Peter Banks made an early exit from the band, making possible the inclusion of Steve Howe, who indelibly augmented Yes' sound. Ok- - we must qualify my statement above and recognize Howe as the third presupposed partner.

Through Yes' versions of Jim McGuinn and David Crosby's "I See You" and John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "Every Little Thing," Squire and Anderson pay homage to their influences, which also include Simon and Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Igor Stravinsky, and, especially for Squire, the choral traditions of the Church of England. Here, in this 1969 debut album, we find the eclecticism we consider at the core of progressive rock.

In his work not only here, but also on Time and a Word and on The Yes Album, Tony Kaye displays a relationship with the Hammond Organ that is singular. Always mindful of depth, richness, and texture, Kaye also, in "Looking Around," "Harold Land," and "Survival," fashions a dominant role. We all know the story of Tony Kaye's departure in favor of Rick Wakeman, but I maintain Kaye's efforts on the first three Yes albums are noteworthy.

It would appear then that, although a centrifugal force always appears at work among the members of the band placing the existence of the group at risk, somehow the group has endured. I lament the present efforts do not include Jon Anderson, but, as with the aftermath of Drama, who knows?

Report this review (#547208)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Strong debut from Yes, but so much better was to come.

This is where it all started, a a young and hungry rock band, being more jazzy than proggy for the time being. In the beginning there was no Wakeman & Howe, but the ever-present Hammond of Kaye and the angular guitar playing of Banks. The powerful, dexterous bass playing of Squire and the angelic vocals of Anderson can already be heard here. Last but not least there's the powerhouse Bruford, playing drums like he's on a jazz record, but ultimately fitting to the overall sound of the album.

Out of the 8 tracks, two are covers (The Byrds & Beatles), but both of them have been transformed to fit the Yes sound of the era. That meaning, breaks, jamming, improvisation thrown in between and the arrangements changed in general. These two covers are among the strongest material on the album, which just goes to show that Yes had still to develop their songwriting skills to the level where they later were. As arrangers they were top notch already. Of the original material, Beyond and Before and Looking Around are strong songs driving the album along, while Sweetness and Yesterday and Today are the ballads, pleasant to hear but nothing very special. Harold Land and Survival are good, a bit disjointed tracks, but nevertheless showing some progginess.

The production is a bit thin and heavily favouring the high end, making the drums sound like tin cans and bass not as thunderous as it should be.

A good debut, 3 stars.

Report this review (#548811)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes were obviously progressive from the very beginning, and even though they hadn't fully developed their sound and approach to the degree they would a few albums later, they still sound very much like Yes on this fine debut. Chris Squire's punchy, organic bass playing, Bill Bruford's more on the jazz side of jazz./rock drumming, Tony Kaye's dark, evocative organ- heaving keyboarding are already present, and Jon Anderson's voice was already as beautiful, expressive, and otherwolrdly as it ever has been. Peter Banks is also an underrated guitarist, and while he may not sound like Steve Howe, his colorful tones and moody lead lines compliment Kaye's parts perfectly. As for the songs, they're all good, and even though they had a couple more albums to go before they'd fully refined their compositional approach, everything here is very progressive and confidently arranged, including insightful, positive lyrics, with the sweet "Sweetness" being the simplest track, and the emotionally dramatic "Survival" being the closest to their now familiar and recongnized style. As a matter of personal preference, I never have really got into Yes' cover versions nearly as much as their originals, and while I wouldn't consider their cover of "Every Little Thing" to be an improvement over the original, I make an exception for their cover of "I See You", where they take the jazzy elements and increase them to just the right degree, turning it into a true classic definitive version. There are some very interesting chord changes, vocal harmonies, and various musical nuances in songs like "Looking Around" and "Harold Land", and I'm sure that the album called Yes blew away many a mind in '69. If you're a Yes fan and still haven't heard this wonderful debut, you are missing out.
Report this review (#583200)
Posted Monday, December 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The start of a long journey.

Unleashed in 1969, it goes without saying this album is a child of it's time. This album is very much in the beat tradition as laid down by The Animals, The Beatles and Procol Harum. Yes was playing the London clubs at that time. The Marquee club for example and were a product of those clubs. The Swinging Sixties as it is called now. The songs here are very much the swinging sixties.

It is pretty natural to compare this album with Genesis debut album because it the follow ups were pretty radical deviations from the debut albums. But Yes debut album is by no means as bad as Genesis debut album. The music on Yes is what I would label intelligent pop/rock. A song like Every Little Thing proves my point. By far the best song on this album. There are a couple of turds here too. But most songs here are really good stuff.

This is an untypical Yes album. But it is not an album they or any Yes fans should be ashamed off. It is a good album for it's time and our time. And the seeds of Fragile can be found in this album too. Yes did change members between this album and Fragile. But Yes did not change overnight from spots to stripes.

3 stars

Report this review (#588367)
Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album has some really strong songs on it, and it is vastly underrated and overlooked. Structurally, "Survival" may be the definitive Yes song. "I See You" is magnificently crafted, with the band slipping with ease between a rocker and a Baroque fugue and back to a rocker again. "Beyond and Before" is a worthy starter to the band's discography and "Harold Land" is filled with a haunting, mystical beauty. While neither their sound or lyrics are fully developed here, I have found this to be a great album to introduce prog to people with, as it is pleasant, intelligent and digestible. I personally think its at least on par with The Yes Album, and overall more enjoyable.
Report this review (#753829)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars In the second half of the 60' all those positive band names approached like Love, HP Lovecraft, It's a Beautiful Day and so did Yes. Also a lot of quiet neutral names did find their way (Caravan, Egg, etc.). Yes became one of the greatest names within the progressive rock genre and I find their path interesting, because there is a straight pathway from structured, yet symphonic rock to very abstract, intellectual rock (Relayer). It's hard to say which end of this line is the better one, because this debut is a quiet easy listening and Relayer made progressive rock almost unlistenable although trained ears could be attracted to it and actually love it.

The influences of Yes seems to be the Byrds and the Beatles: they play a cover of both bands. Following records, like The Yes Album seems also to be influenced by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, which is of course related to the Byrds (David Crosby plays in both groups). Although the sang seem to be influenced, the music sounds already much like some later work of Yes and I conclude that they already had found their own sound, which did just slowly changed over time.

While I do really like some of the songs the overall quality is just good, but not essential. The first two songs are the best actually. "Beyond and Before" has a nice hard-rocking feel with a little mystic touch created by the vocals. "I see you", which is originally of the Byrds has great jazzy drums and nice jazz guitar melodies within a silent context. The other songs all have some symphonic lines in it, but are not catchy enough to justify the easy structures. This record deserves 3,25 stars; for Yes fans however this is an excellent addition to their collection, because of it's historic value.

Report this review (#755920)
Posted Monday, May 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I seem to be generous to debut albums, but they're often simply lovely, like this one. Yes! It was the first album I heard from Yes and despite its low rating it was this one, which learnt me that Yes is a wonderful band. I know all the songs like my own shoes. Yes shew the world something new, something in development, something talented and perspective. I would maybe compare Yes album to From Genesis to Revelation. Of course that these short lovely songs are not masterpieces like Close to the Edge, but I love them. Dear Father...Looking around (I always begin shaking my bum listening to this)...Harold land simillar to Genesis' The Conqueror. Every Litthe Thing and Sweetness, oh, that naive words of love. Survival, that's my absolutely fav piece with way interesting lyrics.

Kind of creative album. 4/5

Report this review (#772434)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars In my high school days, I took a deep interest in exploring the roots of heavy metal, and my searches brought me right into the heart of psychedelic rock and acid rock. This fertile breeding ground of new sounds was largely responsible for giving birth to both heavy metal and progressive rock. Among many bands that pushed toward new ground in rock music, my cassette racks included Cream, the Yardbirds, early Pink Floyd and Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge, Jefferson Airplane and so on. As such, my ears were already well primed for the fabulous sounds of the late sixties.

Jump from 1988 to 2011 and find me just discovering the genius of the music of Yes. Oh, I knew about Yes from the videos from 90125 that got played on late night video shows back in 83/84 and I even had The Yes Album on cassette once. But it was Fragile and Close to the Edge that really got me excited about this band. I had to get all their studio material and that of course brought their eponymous debut into my hands and ears.

Let me say now (finally) that this album really impressed me from the start and still gets among the most plays (top 6 perhaps) of all my Yes albums. There are three things that totally knocked me out and made this album a stand out piece of work for me.

First, the vocal harmonies are fantastic. I love vocal harmony ' not just two or three voices of differing timbre singing the same note ' but voices actually singing different notes in a chord together, achieving a vocal chord if you like. Lead vocalist Jon Anderson is joined by bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Peter Banks to create a powerful version of what Simon and Garfunkle were doing in their more relaxed acoustic setting. Indeed, Chris Squire spent some years singing as a choirboy and I wouldn't be surprised to hear of his influence in the vocal department.

Next, the strong jazz sound coming through the psychedelia. Three reasons here. Drummer Bill Bruford was strongly influenced by jazz drummers and claimed to have believed that he was joining a jazz group (Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes by Chris Welch). His drumming here is very much jazz flavoured, and I love it even though too much jazz turns me off. Then there's Peter Banks who alternates between scratchy fuzzy notes and chords and very smooth and clean solos and chords that fit right into a jazz climate. And then there's Jon, who claims Frank Sinatra as an influence. Though his voice is quite high in register and very different from Frankie's, there are times you can really here him going for that cool, jazzy effect: 'Grocery store, ten bucks, just making change for plastic cherries,' (Everydays cover, bonus track).

Finally, the overall sound is really good on the re-mastered version, very clear, though with emphasis on the bass while Tony Kaye's organ seems to be left in the background often. This disk also comes with bonus tracks and the above-noted Everydays and a West Side Story cover of Something's Coming fit right along with the overall sound of the album.

For a band that was hitting the stage with a sound that was fresh and exciting, Yes really managed to do something different from the standard flair of the time.

Report this review (#797177)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hey all progheads, time for yet another prog review. What is it now? Well, as the title suggests it is none other than Yes's self-titled debut, it was released in July 1969 I believe. What to say about it? Well, musically speaking it's a little rough around the edges and still not at that classic Yes level (it's the band's debut so they should be given the benefit of the doubt a bit). However, it does show some promise and a little bit of where the band will eventually lead to. I will give you a bit of a background now. The original band consisted of the following: Jon Anderson on vocals, Chris Squire on the bass, Bill Bruford on the drums, Tony Kaye on the keys and Peter Banks (their original guitarist) on guitar. I have already given you a bit a sneak peak at how I feel about the album haven't I (damn it, lol). Well, how do I feel about each individual track? Here we go! On to the review now!!

The track listing is as follows:

1) Beyond and Before - A nice opening track. The vocal melodies, drums, bass and guitar make for a good beginning track. 8/10

2) I See You - This is a jazzy and dynamic piece. It also a bit different from original track by The Byrds. In it, you could hear the great Bill Bruford work his magic. I like it a lot. 8/10

3) Yesterday and Today - Ahh, this one. I love it. Nice vocals from Jon. It's a rather delicate and sweet piece of music. 8/10

4) Looking Around - This is a good song but my least favorite on the album. I don't have much to say about it other than it's a good song. It doesn't really stand out (for me at least).7/10

5) Harold Land - This one is a damn good song. My favorite song on the album up to this point. Possibly my favorite on the album overall.10/10

6) Every Little Thing - I like this Beatles cover a lot. Grade A , it's a creative and different cover. 9/10

7) Sweetness - Another delicate number. I love it, it's a really sweet song, it lifts up your day and brings some sunshine in. 8/10

8) Survival - I like this piece a lot. It resonates with me (who doesn't resonate with it?). I especially love the "all that dies, dies for a reason to put it's strength into the season" bit. What a beautiful piece of writing. 10/10

Overall, this is a damn fine debut. A great start to an amazing band. However, it is not really considered to be a great Yes album (I agree, considering what the band would eventually accomplish) but it is a fun album (at least for me anyway). I feel that this was a really good album but because it pales in comparison to later Yes releases I will deduct a star! 4 solid stars!! Peace out!!

Report this review (#885602)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars After listening top Genesis first record from 1969 I continued to Yes first record from the same year and the differencies are remarkable. If Genesis started weak, this is a strong debut lp. Ok, Yes didn't sound like Close to the Edge yet, but they were already progressive and symphonic. What's perhaps even better than later Yes is that the vocals are very coherent. There is a lot of harmony singing here and they do it great. At this time Yes featured Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye and Peter Banks.

They opened with "Beyond and before" a progressive hard rock song with a strong melodical power. The melodies remind me of of Beatles. The keyboards are sweat. Next song "I see you" is calmer and very jazzy and psychedelic. It shows the progressive 60s. "Yesterday and today" is much more simple and could have been on Genesis to Revelation. "Looking around" is also a rock song with nice organ and harmonies and shows how skillful the musicians were. "Harold Land" is the best song, oh it's amazing and very symphonic. A beautiful melody which grows and has both calmer and more powerful moments. This is real Yes music. Next song is as good as last song: the Beatles cover "Every little thing" is another side of early Yes. The intro is experimental and exciting, then comes the riff from Bealtes' "Day tripper" and then the riff/melody from "Every little thing" starts. This is a perfect cover, totally different but still an honest tribute to the earlier masters of Beatles. "Sweetness" is more of a pop song and the closer "Surviving" is an interesting piece. It starts energetic and becomes acoustic. Good vocals and elegant mellotron work of Kaye.

Yes I know Yes could do even better, but with this debut it's not weird at all they could. Today's match between the debuts of the giants of prog has come to end and the winner is Yes. Recommended!

Report this review (#889188)
Posted Monday, January 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Before they became " Symphonic Gods", Yes was a Rock band without the Roll; to mean non-mainstream exactly styled compositions.This debut release did not pass unobserved as you would have noticed on the back cover of the vinyl version. Printed was the comment; of Melody Maker (a "respectable" British "Rock" underline "Rock" magazine ) betting on the most promising band launches in; no other than: 1969; the year at the time. Now we know; this "Year" will turn to be no common year. No it was the turning path in all sorts of ways. Prog got a shape and name, just like that! Year of The Whos´s: "Tommy", Beatles´s: Abbey Road, Miles´s Davis: "In a Silent Way", people realising Hendrixs´s "Electric Lady" will turn to be his last (alive at least!) work. To make things even better;.. The King arriveth... KCs´s "In the Court of the Crimson King" . All of them OVERSHADOWED by a 4-Headed Monster that will errupt into the scene and mark its enourmous space for years to come; no; not Yes; their time will come 4 years later;.. The enourmous loved/hated Led Zeppelin. So 1969 was an amazing year. A tough one to survive in this "Biz". I had, because of physical/time circumstances (I was 8 at the time;became a "declared" audiophile around 1972. So I myself met Yes in their super-top shape "Close to the Edge". But out of that experience I went directly to their first work. Who are these guys? Where do they come from? Logical questions with logical answers. Work number one. So without any expectations I dug in. Yes "1" is the perfect balanced composition wise Yes songs we all know; but in the raw. It could have turned anyway really. From track 1; you understand the importance of the Chris Squire bass work in this Yes and the next. The instantly structured and original language; made me forget "The Edge" completely. That was a relieve. Unpretensious (considering Jon Andersons´s tendencies towards x-treme-sweetness);.... to put it lightly more like the Beatles than Symphonic Yes; without sounding like them. Considering I went from Top-Progarchive album for years to come to a band that was just stating they had a voice and people should be aware of it.. The stakes were quiet high and yet; they survived into the collective consciousness of millions. Wow! 4 Stars

Report this review (#890886)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes's maiden voyage is not an essential progressive album, but it is worth owning and listening to repeatedly for two reasons.

1) The absence of Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman here reveal the contributions that Chris Squire and Bill Bruford made to the original Yes sound. I mean no disrespect to Peter Banks and Tony Kaye, the guitarist and keyboardist on this recording. They have decent prog chops. Indeed, Banks' jazzy guitar work on "I See You" is one of the album's highlights. Nonetheless, The percussive angularity and the dramatic tension provided by Squire and Wakeman shape the melodies here--and set the listener up to appreciate these elements more deeply on later Yes albums.

2) After The Yes Album, no one ever accused this group of being too concise. On their first album, however, they manage to produce hard-rocking songs that are both concise (by prog standards) and ambitious (by mainstream rock standards). This band was not yet ready to generate progressive epics, but they could craft tunes that hold the attention of the careful listener.

Newbies should not begin their Yes journey here, but veterans who have driven close to the edge should backtrack to this scenic pit stop.

Report this review (#1100765)
Posted Friday, December 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Yes' - Yes (67/100)

Everybody starts somewhere. Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman were both a couple of years away from joining Yes, and progressive rock had barely started. Yes' self- titled debut, along with its follow-up Time and a Word have never received a fraction of the attention their successors would foster, both then and now. It's surprising that so many Yes fans (including myself until recently!) have never bothered to check them out. Yes wouldn't begin to unlock their potential until The Yes Album, but the debut certainly deserves more recognition than its earned. Yes is a solid psych rock album, with strong melodies and tight musicianship; what more could a listener ask for?

There is a sense here that Yes are piggybacking on the tailends of the dwindling hippie movement. Unlike their more timeless prog classics, Yes feels very much a work of its time. With the notable exception of King Crimson (who set the standard for proficiency in the genre), progressive rock was nearly indistinguishable from psychedelic rock at the time. 1969 was saturated with melody-driven bands that tried to bring a heavier approach to psych rock with the use of distorted guitars and thick organ playing, and Yes were no exception. Two included covers (of The Beatles' "Every Little Thing", and the Byrds' "I See You") reinforce the idea that Yes were still at a stage of emulation over innovation. I think the thing that's missing most in retrospect is Steve Howe's unique fingerstyle, but it's also clearly a case of a band needing time and experience before making a bolder statement.

Compared to their contemporaries, Yes had already distinguished themselves as a technically proficient act on the self-titled. I hear that seeing King Crimson perform compelled Yes to brush up their skills and push the envelope; whatever the case, it worked to their benefit. Jon Anderson's vocals are already strong and distinctive, and his high-register delivery works really well with the 'flower power' atmosphere and melodic songwriting. Surprisingly, the musician who impresses me the most here is Peter Banks, a guitarist that time seems to have forgotten under the shadow of Yes' canonical riffmaker Steve Howe. If Howe was based in classical music, Peter Banks has a clear love for jazz. Although the rhythm guitars have a biting distortion and buzz of hard rock, his leads are clean, thick and jazzy. In combination with the in-vogue London psych rock direction, Banks' jazz leads gave Yes' debut an urbane and cultured feel. I think Howe as a replacement brought something far more special to the table, but Banks' own contributions to Yes' career have gone sorrowfully underrated.

Yes' songwriting is solid and memorable on this debut ("Looking Around" and "Survival" both stand out), but it's clear that ambition and a forward-thinking attitude wouldn't come until later. The vaguely generic psychedelic hard rock sound feels indistinct and a little dry compared to the work they're known for, but Yes still started off on an above- average note with this one. Strong vocal harmonies, skilled guitarwork and fun songwriting are all present and accounted for; if you're one of the many Yes fans who have overlooked it, or simply have a passing interest in late 60's psychedelia, this album comes nicely recommended.

Report this review (#1141163)
Posted Monday, March 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars A very solid first album, though not particularly indicative of the direction Yes would take as the years went on. When I was first getting into Yes, I heard many of these songs on the compilation album "Yesterdays". When I finally got around to getting the original albums, I found I enjoyed this one much more than Time and a Word overall, with my personal stand out tracks being Looking Around, Harold Land, and Survival. Also, I love the Beatles cover Every Little Thing, and actually think it's way better than the original. Not the place to start if you're new to Yes, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Report this review (#1145889)
Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars I'm not sure what happened to me with this one. I used to own this and although I listened to it a few times I never really got into it and the first two YES albums always took a major backseat to the outstanding masterpieces that began with "The Yes Album" which is often cited as YES' first album. I used to believe that myself but incorrect it is. This is their debut album and is simply called YES. It's true I have never been a fan of their band name and even the band meant it to be temporary but that matters not when the music they have released is some of the best the world has ever heard. I recently got the remastered edition of this album and thought i'd revisit it simply because other than "Every Little Thing" I couldn't recall any of the songs. I was expecting this to be the 3 star album that I remembered it to be but something happens to me with YES albums. I swear that the tunes lay eggs in my brain and incubate there and when they hatch they burrow themselves into my DNA and change it to like the songs that I once didn't!

On this debut album I was immediately struck how good this band already sounds from the very first song. Not only is Jon Anderson and Chris Squire already fully developed in their trademark sounds but Peter Banks' guitar work has already established that guitar sound of expanding beyond the bluesy rock riffing and adding the nuances that Steve Howe would adopt when he joined the band. Bill Bruford displays his jazz-influenced drumming and while Tony Kaye is no Wakeman, for these sweet, melodic and unusual (for the day) songs he is more than adequate for the job. I wouldn't say this is a bad place to start with YES' music. It is the beginning and if you listen to all the later masterpieces first it may take you a long time to appreciate this debut. YES, i'm surprised i'm giving this 4 stars but there is not a bad song on here. Despite this not being as progressive and pompous as future releases there is some interesting variations on melodic songwriting going on here.

Report this review (#1196296)
Posted Friday, June 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Released way back in 1969, this is the debut album for a band that was very unsuspecting that they (well some of them anyway) would be part of a band that would have a huge influence on the progressive rock movement that would soon come. At the time of this release though, they were a band trying to find a sound. The line up consisted of Jon Anderson (credited as John Anderson on the original credits), Chris Squire, and Bill Bruford, these were 3 of the members who would continue on to help make this band into the influential band they would become. Also in the line up was guitarist Peter Banks and keyboardist Tony Kaye, who would end up leaving before the band got really successful.

I'm not sure at first, just what kind of sound they were trying to accomplish. They were sort of a psychedelic band with a very heavy rock edge, sort of a poppier Deep Purple. There were some tricky rhythms and hints to progressive style music, but, except for the beginnings of King Crimson, there really wasn't an official name attached to progressive music yet. So, they had a very sophisticated and heavy sound that would approach the popular sound that was evident at the time.

In this album, they even attempt a couple of covers; "I See You" which was a Byrds song co-written by David Crosby that had a definite psychedelia in the instrumental section of the song, and "Everything She Does" which was a heavy cover of The Beatles song of the same name which boasted a bombastic (for the time at least) introduction that snuck in a snippet of the guitar hook from "Day Tripper" before settling into the fairly decent cover of the song.

Jon's vocals are somewhat weak on the quieter passages of the tracks like "Yesterday and Today" and "Sweetness", and his delivery is a little insecure sounding. But on the heavier tracks like "Looking Around" and the excellent and dynamic "Survival", he sounds more confident. In fact, "Survival" is the best song on the album and probably is the closest to how the band would eventually sound.

As far as debut albums go, this one shows a band that is on the verge of something great and it isn't so bad when compared to other debut albums. But it is still a far cry from what they would become. This is an interesting album in the fact that you can see where the band started from and how they would develop. The sound was still unique as it ever was. There is still no doubt that it is Yes that you are listening to when you play the album. But you will notice a lack of the extended jams and progressive elements that are so ever present in later albums. Being a huge Yes fan, I tend to rate this album higher than I probably should in my own manner of rating, but I do feel comfortable enough to consider this a 3 star album, that it is good especially considering the time of the recording, but not essential as their later albums would become.

Report this review (#1353337)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Of all the classic prog bands, Yes is probably the most famous one, and there's a reason for that: along with King Crimson, they were arguably the very first real "progressive" band in existence from the outset. However, whereas KC tended to have more of a jazz/avant-garde edge to their sound, Yes was steeped in the Classical/Romantic ideal of composition and development of long-form song ideas. Like most groups that followed them, their sound was a blend of pop, classical, jazz and just about everything else in between; Yes just happened to set the standard for inventive and ear-catching arrangements and instrumentation, most of which still hold up today.

The original line-up was as follows: Jon Anderson, quasi-flower child, frontman, lead vocalist, chief composer and lyricist; Peter Banks, guitarist influenced by jazz and psychedelic adventures; Bill Bruford, the rare rock-n-roll drummer who was more Max Roach than Keith Moon; Tony Kaye, keyboard man with a simple approach that served the group in good stead for a while; and Chris Squire, who was already on his way to becoming a legendary bass guitarist. (He would also eventually assume his position as captain of the Yes ship, being the only original member never to miss a gig or album with the band until his untimely death from leukemia in 2015.)

Being that this was Yes' first album, recorded within the first six months or so of their existence, one would expect them to be somewhat immature in their approach, which of course is part and parcel of the learning process. The opening track, "Beyond and Before" (apparently a holdover from Chris Squire's previous band, Mabel Greer's Toyshop) will bear this out; introduced by Squire's "Wichita Lineman" bass sounding in the guitar range, the tune is little more than a psychedelic hangover. The vocal harmonies (by Anderson, Squire and Banks) don't exactly fit with the chords most of the time (besides being slightly out of tune), and the band is pretty blatantly off during the stop-time section. Not exactly a great representative of the Yes sound, yet it's still apparent they're setting their sights high.

"I See You" is one of two covers on this album, and evidently this is how Yes tested out their arranging ideas, by taking other people's music and enriching it through their own mindset. Bruford was very much in favor of this approach, and I agree with this idea as well?heck, this is how the Beatles got started! Anyway, not being familiar with the original version by the Byrds, I can't say what it sounded like, but I'm willing to bet it wasn't an up-tempo jazz exercise. For the most part, the track is well-performed and it sounds like Yes had fun doing it. The major downside is the guitar/drum duet that takes up about two minutes in the middle. Now, Bruford has gone on record as saying that he recorded this whole album with a mix of ear-splitting Banks guitar on one side of his 'phones and virtually nothing on the other side (because he didn't know he could change the mix). Knowing this, it's amazing that he comes off as well as he does throughout the album. On this track, particularly, he keeps up the jazz beat and plays around with it occasionally, never flagging, never wavering in his time feel. The same cannot, however, be said for Banks; his playing is consistently sloppy and behind the beat in his solo spot. He sounds rather like a first-year jazz guitar student who thinks he already has all the Wes Montgomery solos down.

The next track, "Yesterday and Today," was written solely by Anderson and unfortunately is not one of his best. There is a certain delicacy to this (I guess) love song, however, and Bruford turns in a rare appearance on vibraphone in the background. Don't be discouraged by my comments on the first three tracks, as the album does get better as it goes on, anyway.

"Looking Around" immediately packs a lot more punch, as it's one of the rare straightforward rockers from the early days of the band (the Bill Buford era). The groove is broken up in the middle by the bridge, which begins in a more mellow fashion before kicking back up. Kaye's transitional organ lines in the intro and reprise are dazzling, but unfortunately, Banks has another substandard solo (thankfully it's brief). We also have to deal with more of Jon's psych/hippie lyrics, but that's a small price to pay. Good track.

"Harold Land" kicks off side two and is named after a jazz saxophonist of some reputation who hit his stride in the 50s and 60s as a contemporary of John Coltrane. (The title was suggested by Bruford, who also gets a co-writing credit.) The title character (who we can pretty safely assume is not the saxophonist) leaves his quiet suburban life behind, goes off to war and is never quite the same person? or something. The lyrics are a bit obtuse, but musically, you can hear the band improving with every step.

Speaking of, the next track, a cover of the Beatles' "Every Little Thing" is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous cover on this album. This would pretty well set the stage for Yes' future covers, or what little there were: an all-out instrumental intro, leading to the actual song which may or may not have been altered slightly; some more instrumentals, usually involving at least one guitar solo; final verse and/or chorus; exciting and dynamic coda. It can be safely said that the band bring to life all the orchestral possibilities that were merely only hinted at by Ringo's timpani bursts in the original version, and this turns out to be one of the "sleeper" Yes tracks (and would become an unlikely stage favorite on their 35th anniversary tour). Bonus points to Banks for quoting the "Day Tripper" riff before the vocals come in.

"Sweetness," another Anderson trifle, isn't quite a definitive work but comes off quite a bit better than "Yesterday and Today." This one is slightly longer and feels more developed, like there's a legitimate reason for it to exist beyond the "demo" stage. Some nice vocal harmonies in here too.

"Survival" was the first track I heard off this album (on Highlights: The Very Best of Yes, back when I still cared about "greatest hits" packages) and it was amazing to me how adventurous Yes was even back then. Of course, they'd create more lasting works than this, but this tale of "nature's way" still has a certain amount of charm to it, lent mostly by Banks' 12-string guitar and Kaye's unadorned yet effective Hammond organ lines (at least when he's not rushing them). In spite of its flaws, it's still my favorite track on the album. The 15-second coda hints at what is still to come?

The bonus tracks on the Rhino remaster (2003) are almost another album unto itself, or at least they would be if they didn't repeat tracks. As it is, we have two distinct versions of Stephen Stills' "Everydays," both of which I actually prefer to the recording on Time and a Word. The lack of orchestra on these renditions lets us hear how this "Yes-ified" cover should have been all along. (Check out Bruford's hi-hat!) A non-album track, "Dear Father," is also presented twice; I interpret the lyrics as being about a monastery student who is becoming increasingly disillusioned with what he is studying. It has all the hallmarks of a great early Yes song and would have been a good fit on the original album. Lastly, we have two different recordings of another Yes cover, "Something's Coming" from West Side Story (my favorite musical), which for me is even better than "Every Little Thing." I wonder what Leonard Bernstein would have thought of this version, given that he doesn't seem to have cared for much prog-rock (or at least not ELP).

Yes still had a long way to go after this, but their debut sows the seeds of their future work rather effectively. All the blueprints are laid out; at this point, it was just a question of building on their designs. If by some miracle, you're new to Yes and want to explore their work, I recommend this only after you have some of their later albums?i.e., The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge. I especially recommend the remastered CD; since the bonus tracks stretch the package out to almost 80 minutes (more than double the length of the original album), you'll get more bang for your buck. 3.5 stars out of 5.

Report this review (#1450052)
Posted Friday, August 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Edit: I've listened to this album a lot in the time since I wrote my first (2 star, mainly negative/lacklustre) review of this album and I've decided that it's worth a complete rewrite.

Anyhow, "Yes" is, obviously, the debut album by a band that we all know well enough to not necessitate an introduction. But is "Yes" really a "Yes" album in its truest sense? Not really, but at the same time...Yes (sorry, I'll stop now). As far as genre tagging goes, the first effort by Anderson-Squire & co. consists of often times jazzy, often times folk-y, psychedelic pop rock. So there's no symphonic grandeur to be heard here, but that isn't a bad thing, per se.

What this first Yes album lacks in sheer ambition it more than makes up for in charm and melody. Really, this is a very strong, cohesive collection of songs. Anderson and Squire's harmonies are tight throughout and, despite not singing about khatrus or topographic oceans, it's very obviously still in the style that they'd become famous for soon after. Bruford is right in his element, with plenty of jazz-heavy beats scattered throughout. Kaye and Banks, the oft-forgotten early Yes members, don't "shine" in their performances, but there really isn't any reason for them to. Their parts fit into the mould of the music perfectly and fit together into a really cohesive ensemble whole. But let's not forget about Squire's bass playing. It's no "Roundabout" here, but it's several steps above your average psychedelic pop bass lines. He really pulls off some cool licks throughout.

I've established that "Yes" is the product of five talented budding musicians who are great at working together as a unit, but how's the music that they make? Not too bad, unsurprisingly. While the album isn't particularly varied in style, and can be a tad monochromatic throughout, the melodies are top notch. I very often get lines from "Beyond and Before", "Looking Around", "Harold Land", "Sweetness" and "Survival" playing through my head, long after I've last heard the album. The vocal lines are really catchy, but not annoying in the slightest. It's an optimal balance, really. And if you're having trouble thinking of what the album's sound can actually be likened to, I very often hear sections that I feel are comparable to "Visions of Angels" off of Genesis' "Trespass".

So while "Yes" may not be the most terribly exciting album out there, it's still a very good compilation of musical ideas executed by a skillful bunch of artists. And just consider that only 2 years after this, most of them would be going on to record "Starship Trooper", and "Close To The Edge" only a year or two after that! The amount of growth that Yes has shown from this starting point is impressive, no doubt, but this one paved the way. Very good, very non-essential. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1472261)
Posted Saturday, October 3, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes' eponymous debut album is a competent one and already lays the foundation of the band's future progressive sound. The music is strongly influenced by the Beatles and psychedelic rock. Aside from Bill Bruford's co-writing credit on Harold Land, Jon Anderson and Chris Squire are the only band members who write original songs. Though Peter Banks and Tony Kaye would be overshadowed by their future replacements, they both do a fine job on guitar and keys, respectively.

Beyond and Before is a strong opener and my favorite song on the album. It is one of the album's most uptempo numbers and the entire band is in excellent form, with outstanding performances by Squire and Banks. Its rather abstract and psychedelic-tingedlyrics are a taste of things to come on future Yes albums.

Clocking at almost seven minutes, the second song is the album's longest track, a jazzy cover of the Byrds' I See You, which I prefer to the original. I really enjoy Bruford's drumming here and Peter Banks also has competent, but restrained, jazzy solo passages. The band expands on the song, making it more than twice as long, and leaves its mark on it. The album contains an additional cover, the Beatles' Every Little Thing. This song is also reworked and expanded, with two minute-long progressive introduction, with fantastic playing by Squire, Banks and Bruford.

Yesterday and Today has a pastoral mood. The song features a different instrumentation than the rest of the album: Tony Kaye plays piano, Bruford plays vibraphone, and Banks mainly plays acoustic guitar. The wistful mood and title remind me of The Beatles' Yesterday.

Looking Around gives Kaye a chance to shine, as this is an up-tempo organ-driven song. Harold Land features good progressive introduction and excellent vocal harmonies. Sweetness is another laid back number. I like Squire's wah-wah effect and Bank's cello-like guitar tone. They both also provide good harmony vocals. Survival is another mini-epic, with wah-wah bass and cello-guitar. It also starts the band's tradition of Anderson singing harmony with himself.

I wouldn't call the album strictly necessary but I think it's very worthwhile for those interested in how the band's sound evolved over the course of just a couple of years. There are no weak songs here and musicianship is very good throughout.

Report this review (#1480689)
Posted Saturday, October 31, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It was 1969 when one of the most iconic, unique and representative bands of progressive rock decided to release their debut album. Back then, the term progressive rock was not actually used, so despite some bands started making music that later would define this genre, people only listened to rock music and that was enough, they didn't worry about labelling bands or songs.

But well, right now we do label bands and songs, and we all know and love progressive rock, which is why we are here in Progarchives debating and reviewing music, because those giants like Yes created something that we will never forget, because that thing named progressive rock has changed our lives. So in 1969 the first Yes lineup gave us Yes, this self-titled debut albums that offers symphonic rock, psychedelic rock and even some pop rock. That mixture would later evolve into more mature sounds, more complex compositions and a true own Yes sound and style.

In this 8-track album we enjoy the first 38 minutes of Yes' magic in the history, with a soft Jon Anderson's voice, smooth Bruford drums, symphonic keyboards from Kaye, that amazing Squire's bass and of course, the nice elaborative guitars by Peter Banks, who would share his talent only in the first two albums and later be replaced by the Yes guitar man we all remember and love: Steve Howe.

This album marks the first steps of Yes, and that's why it is so important, though of course it is far from being one of the best Yes' albums, far, far away. It might also be considered as a proto-prog album, but that's it. In my opinion, it does not has any memorable songs, any unforgettable passages, it was the first attempt that lacked emotion and complexity, but fortunately they attempted it, otherwise, we would not have been blessed with their upcoming 70s albums that changed our life.

My final grade will be two stars, I like it but I've never loved it, and I hardly listen to it, however, it is one of the most important albums in this genre's history.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#1518695)
Posted Saturday, January 23, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars I would like to talk about every song on here, but that would be pretty redundant with an album like this. This album is really half baked and meh, and that goes for most of the songs on here as well. ThIs album shows a young band still trying to figure out what kind of music they want to make. I wouldn't necessarily call this progressive rock, it's more proto-prog I think.

I'll briefly talk about the album's content. There's a few covers on here, like The Beatles' "Every Little Thing" and The Byrds' "I See You", for example. Most of the album is just okay, but there's a few stand out tracks on here that are worth listening to. "Looking Around", "Every Little Thing", and "Survival" are the highlights here. Overall, the album is okay, but just listen to the three songs I mentioned.

3 stars

Report this review (#1542349)
Posted Monday, March 21, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fresh and Alive.

Yes' debut album set the pattern for what would follow. Although the songs here are shorter and more radio oriented, the vocals are unmistakable, and the tunes reveal the sprightly sparkle that would characterize most of Yes music (that is, until Drama). This is generally strong uplifting music. Unlike the Yes albums that would follow though (including 'Time and a Word', their second album), few of the songs here are highly memorable - Good, just not highly memorable. "Survival" is the most memorable, stand-out track on this album, up there with the best of Yes. The opener, "Beyond and Before" is decent, with classic early Yes harmonies. "I See You" is a good jazzy 60s tune. "Yesterday and Today" is a very nice uplifting quieter piece. "Looking Around" is a decent single. "Harold Land" is the second-best tune on the album, with a bit of social critique. "Sweetness" has a positive message. "Every Little Thing" is a well-done cover of the Beatles tune. The remastered CD also contains three additional songs, which all fit well into the album., "Something's Coming", "Dear Father" and "Everydays", with the latter the highlight of these. All together, a very good album, very fresh and alive, positive and uplifting, even if the song-writing is not always highly memorable. I give this 7.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

Report this review (#1696006)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars Review Nº 144

Yes was founded in 1968 by vocalist Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire. In May 1968, Squire met Anderson in a Soho nightclub, where Anderson was working with a band. As they had a common interest in vocal harmony they began working together. After a while, both decided they needed a new drummer and Bill Bruford was recruited from an ad in Melody Maker. As the previous guitarist Clive Bailey left the band, Peter Banks joined them and soon another new member also joined the group, the keyboardist Tony Kaye. After the entry of Tony Kaye, the band was complete and they adopted the name Yes. The name was suggested by Banks, with the argument that the word would be highlighted in advertising posters. According to Anderson, the name was accepted because it represented a very positive word.

'Yes' is the eponymous debut studio album of Yes and was released in 1969. It's considered as one of the first progressive rock albums in the history of the progressive rock music. Although Yes' debut album isn't exactly what they're remembered most for, but still is a decent piece of proto-prog. From quite obvious reasons this is also their most 60's influenced album. Two of the tracks, 'Beyond And Before' and 'Sweetness' dates back from the time when Anderson and Squire were in a band called Mabel Greer's Toyshop. Some of the Yes' trademarks can already been heard here, like the falsetto vocal harmonies and the powerful and distinctive bass playing of Squire. But, this is of course a much more basic and rougher album than their following symphonic progressive rock classics from the 70's.

'Yes' has eight tracks. The first track 'Beyond And Before' written by Squire and Clive Bailey is a good opener for the album. It's a very interesting song with good drumming, a very nice distorted guitar work, and here, we can clearly hear the typical sound of the bass of Squire. The song has also some harmony and beauty, and represents the beginning of Yes' sound. The second track 'I See You' written by Jim McGuinn and David Crosby is the first song on the album that wasn't written by the band. It's a cover of a song of The Birds and I must confess that this is a brilliant version made by Yes of the original song. This is, for me, the really great surprise on the album. Banks is at his best and did a fantastic guitar work and the voice of Anderson goes beautifully on this song. The third track 'Yesterday And Today' written by Anderson is the shortest song on the album. This is a sweet and beautiful acoustic ballad with some nice acoustic guitar and keyboard sounds in the background of Anderson's voice. This is really a very beautiful song. The fourth track 'Looking Around' written by Anderson and Squire is a song that, despite be one of the first songs of the group, we can call it a typical classic Yes' song. It's a song with some musical progressivity and where Banks and Kaye have very good musical contributions. However, the vocal parts are the most memorable due to the great and nice choral work. The fifth track 'Harold Land' written by Anderson, Bruford and Squire is a truly progressive song that reminds me strongly some of the first songs of Genesis. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the first progressive songs ever made. It has everything that should have. It has a pretty vocal performance, nice guitar, great keyboards, good bass line and a fantastic drum work. This is one of the highlights of the album and one of my favourite songs too. The sixth track 'Every Little Thing' written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney is the second song on the album that wasn't written by the band. It's a cover of a song of The Beatles and is also a very good version of the original song. This is a track with great drumming work, a good bass line and fantastic guitar work that opens the song with a great solo. This is a song that shows the great capacity of the band to transform songs in their own way. The seventh track 'Sweetness' written by Anderson, Bailey and Squire is another sweet, nice and pretty ballad. It has good vocal performance, nice background keyboards and good drumming work too. However, this is one of the weakest tracks on the album. The eighth track 'Survival' written by Anderson is, in my humble opinion, with 'Harold Land', one of the two highest points on the album. This is, probably, the best song on the album. It has beautiful vocals, great bass, catchy keyboards, good guitar and nice drumming. It has also beautiful lyrics and great choral work. This is a wonderful musical piece and an excellent example of the early progressive rock songs. This is a great and perfect way to close the album.

Conclusion: 'Yes' is a good debut album of the group. Despite two of the songs are covers and only two other songs, 'Harold Land' and 'Survival', can be considered great, this is a very interesting debut musical work, because even the cover songs are good and interesting versions of the original songs. If we compare this debut studio album with other debut studio albums of some other great bands from the 70's, we can say that 'Yes' is better than 'From Genesis To Revelation' of Genesis, is as good as 'The Aerosol Grey Machine' of Van Der Graaf Generator but is far away from being as good as 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' of King Crimson. So, all in all, 'Yes' marked, definitely, a very decent and solid starting point for a band that would become one of the greatest progressive rock bands ever.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1819355)
Posted Sunday, November 5, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars A strong debut that's fun to listen to. To use a cliché, the band was generally firing on all cylinders. Lead vocalist Jon Anderson hadn't quite gotten comfortable with the higher register, but sounds very good, especially when backed by the vocals of bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Peter Banks. Squire and drummer Bill Bruford are already playing at a professional level, and organist/pianist Tony Kaye plays competently. To my ears, the real star here is Banks. It certainly wasn't his guitar playing that would get him kicked out after their next album!

Yes opens with the psychedelic rock (or maybe art rock) of "Beyond and Before," a showcase for Squire's bass and support vocals. Also on Side One is the early classic "Looking Around." The other standout track is the Side-Two opener "Harold Land." Yes also includes two covers: "I See You," a fast-paced Byrds song, and the Beatles' "Every Little Thing," which actually eclipses the original.

Less successful are the softer originals "Yesterday and Today," "Sweetness," and "Survival." At some point starting in the 1990s, "Survival" began to appear of compilations as representative of this album, and Anderson later revived it for one of his solo projects. While it prefigures the more-complex Yes music to come, it exposes one of Anderson's relative weaknesses: his literal lyric-writing. He's much better when his lyrics are impressionistic. Also of note is "Something's Coming," a b-side now included on most CD reissues. This is a tune from West Side Story. Whereas the two cover songs on the album feature unique, original arrangements, much of the arrangement ideas for Yes's version of "Something's Coming" were copied from an earlier recording by another group (I've heard it on youtube, but I don't remember the band anymore).

I'll say that this self-titled debut album (1969) by Yes isn't quite as good as Time and a Word, released one year later. And I'll also say that the band made a quantum leap between Time and a Word and The Yes Album, released eight months later in 1971 - - a much easier claim. Furthermore, Fragile (1971), which itself represented a modest improvement over its predecessor, was followed in short order by Close to the Edge (1972), which is ranked here at Prog Archives is the all-time top progressive rock album ever.

So where does that leave Yes? How should we rate an album which was outdone by each of the four that succeeded it? In the rating system here, the five-star rating is reserved for only the best albums, which means Close to the Edge and possibly Fragile - - but not Yes. A four-star album is an "Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection," while three stars means "Good, but non-essential." The Yes Album is easily a four-star album, while Time and a Word possibly deserves four stars as well.* At this point, I'm tentatively rating Yes three stars, but I must confess I'm on the fence. Whereas that might ordinarily mean I should wait to post this review, I've given this rating more thought than most.


*possibly, but at present I rate it three stars.

Report this review (#2118108)
Posted Sunday, January 13, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars Review - #3 (Yes - Yes)

This is the first of many classic albums to come out from the progressive rock band Yes. This album was released in 1969 and consisted of an interesting line-up of band members. The members are Jon Anderson (Vocals), Chris Squire (Bassist), Bill Bruford (Drums), Peter Banks (Guitarist), Tony Kaye (Pianist). From the years 1969-1980 this is probably the bands least progressive. However, it shouldn't lessen the greatness found throughout the album. It is an album that really shows where the band is going and whats to come next.

When looking at the line-up, Chris Squire does exactly what he need to. He's bass performance throughout the album is very prominent and gives real punch to some of the songs. However, Jon Anderson's vocals are pretty good but they don't seem to have reached potential of what would come later on. It almost seems like he's holding back. The other band members also do a good job, from Bill Bruford's jazz like drums to Peter Banks great guitar the musician box is definitely checked off.

One of the highlights of album has to be Survival. From the beautiful guitar strings to the metaphoric chorus this songs is what a great Yes, or even prog song should be. Some other note worthy songs are Harold Land and Yesterday and Today. Both songs are very unique and interesting songs in the Yes catalogue that should really need to be heard. The other songs on the album are also fairly good. However, some songs never get past that "fairly good" point which brings down the album from the potential it might have had.

Nonetheless, from beginning to end this album is a great listen. It shows the early stages of what Yes would come to be. They were able to craft something that is very unique in its own right while showing what they have to offer. If you haven't heard this album, and you are a fan of Yes or prog in general I'd definitely take a listen.

Report this review (#2314004)
Posted Saturday, February 8, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars The debut album of Yes sounds now very pretty and sixties.

1. Beyond and Before (4:50) is a good ballad folk-rock. Guitar wah-wah, vocals in CSNY' style. Squire's bass immediately jumps. Rating 7,5/8.

2. I See You (6:33). Song written by the Byrds. It is much longer than the original, and the Byrds psychedelia is not present. The song is jazzed up. Anderson's female voice is dubbed but begins to peep alone, creating a strange sensation. Banks and Bruford solo all jazz. A lot of creativity but also a lot of confusion. Rating 8.

3. Yesterday and Today (2:37). Short melodic, acoustic song, where the celestial Anderson's contralto voice emerges for the first time, but the tone is not as high as it will be in the future. Good atmosphere but the pathos is missing. Rating 7+.

4. Looking Around (3:49). Conventional rock ballad with the organ in foreground. Good sound, but nothing more - The listener now begins to understand that the singer has just that voice. Rating 6,5/7.

End of A-Side.

5. Harold Land (5:26) opens B- side. Intro a minute and a half long, rambling, then a melodic ballad starts that alternates good moments with bad ones. Rating 6,5/7.

6. Every Little Thing (5:24). A new jazzy intro thanks to Bruford and Banks, then the music changes, and the Beatles' song is recognized, a song with a vague and insignificant melody that is covered here by rhythm and arrangement. It seems to witness a transformation, like distorting a beat, melodic song into a jazz-rock song. As always with Yes, you lose in feeling and pathos but you gain in musical emphasis, in visionarity. The cover is well centered, and since the original is a poor song, this cover gains us. The best song on the album. Rating 8+.

7. Sweetness (4:19). Sweet and melodic ballad where Anderson still sings on the low notes. The listener has become accustomed to his asexual voice, and does not yet know that in the future he will almost use falsetto. More engaging than the ballad of the first side. Rating 7.5

8. Survival (6:01). Blues-rock guitar, organ, then drums and bass, then acoustic piece and finally Anderson's voice. Personally, I regret this still neutral voice and on the low notes, almost warm, compared to the high note that will come. This is perhaps the song that projects Yes into the future, the less epigonic, more personal song. Bruford plays jazz-style drums again, and the melody is good this time. It is a bridge between the beat, the melodic song and the prog. Almost epic ending but then a short instrumental digression arrives. Rating 8.

Total Time: 38:59

Yes was still a long way from what King Crimson did in 1969, and also Van Der Graaf Generator. The listener hears a band that brings together beat, rock, jazz arrangements, which has great musical potential, especially the rhythm section (Bruford and Squire), and a singer with an asexual voice, which gives a whole sense of estrangement, even if still moderate, compared to the future. A group that does well when it expands the beat songs by 2-3 minutes, when it creates a jazz atmosphere, and when it has a singer who remains on low notes. A music that has yet to grow to become personal, but already has a quality: to make commercial a song format different from the catchy verse of a 2-3 minute refrain. Still naive but pleasant album.

Rating 7+. Yes reach three stars.

Report this review (#2347237)
Posted Friday, April 3, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes debut album is miles ahead of their peers Genesis album. One reason being the age - these lads were more mature and they played together for a longer time. We have a very solid 60's oriented album with touches of psychedelia, hard-rock, harmony vocals and a few sonic trademarks of the band - harmony vocals by Anderson/Squire, high-pitched and aggressive bass guitar playing, Hammond/piano leanings by Kaye and precise drumming by Bruford.

It's true that there aren't many virtuoso moments but the band sounds cohesive, tight, yet a bit adventureous thanks to some instrumental moments like the jazzy "I see you". Compositional abilities are placed on the same height as playing abilities. "Yesterday and today" is a nice pastoral piece with chord sequences that would be repeated on later albums. The most hit potential had "Looking around" with churning Hammond and very 60's sounding guitar. I usually don't like cover songs but the Yes version of not-so-known "Every Little Thing" by the Beatles presents an interesting choice that provides enough sophistication even to a progressive rock fan. "Survival" shows first signs of epicness in the composition - quite instrumental parts, sung conventional part and dynamic playing.

A very decent start of one of the best progressive rock bands, but let's be honest nothing can match the King Crimson debut album ;-)

Report this review (#2460557)
Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars In their long career span of more than 50 years, YES best period in terms of musical creativity and the depth of their composition in my opinion was the first 8-10 years, in which most of their quintessential works were in the first half of that period. This makes every early YES album important, at least in the development of what would YES become. The characteristic of early YES represent more or less the British music period of folk rock and psychedelic, even make reference of band like Beatles, but the root of the YES sound is already set.

The line-up for the first two albums (1969-1970) are Squire, Anderson, Banks, Kaye, and Bruford. They started to build the unique character of the band sound, like vocal harmony, fluid and dominating bassline, complex keyboard and guitar works and unconventional fills and time signature of the drums.

This debut album has some strong compositions that I think should be among YES best repertoires. 'Looking Around' has a strong rock feel, and a showcase of the level of musicianship of each of the band member: great guitar riffs, dynamic bassline and great keyboards. 'Survival' is a really great composition, very fluid, well-structured from intro to ending, and has a beautiful and catchy theme. Jon Anderson angelic voice and Peter Banks guitar works really fit on this song.

There are two cover songs: 'I See You' (The Byrds' 1966 Fifth Dimension) and 'Every Little Thing' (The Beatles' 1964 Beatles for Sale). Worth to mention is the complex intro arrangement in 'Every Little Thing' that is ended by Peter Banks' playful phrase from well-known riff of antoher Beatles song 'Day Tripper' before entering to the song.

This album, although not a masterpiece, is important for those who love YES (particularly their earlier and more progressive works) or generally progressive music. Here we go, the nascent giant of progressive rock.

Report this review (#2461933)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review #43

What a nice debut!

YES is without a doubt one of the most influential and legendary Progressive Rock bands ever; they recorded some of the most popular albums of the genre in the early seventies but their beginnings are in the late sixties, when they published this beautiful Symphonic Rock album.

The first line-up of YES consisted on Jon ANDERSON (vocals), Bill BRUFORD (drums), Chris SQUIRE (bass), Tony KAYE (keyboards) and Peter BANKS (guitar) and in 1969 this band published their homonymous album which is filled with very nice rock songs with a lot of resemblance to some American vocal bands like CROSBY, STILLS & NASH, BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD & THE BYRDS (in fact the second song of the album is a BYRDS' cover).

The energy that these guys had is very notorious: the drums, bass and keyboards don't stop going and creating a very intense but yet harmonic atmosphere. The songs are short but most of them have instrumental middle parts in which the band shows its geniality. Six original songs and two covers (one of THE BYRDS and one of THE BEATLES) are the contents of this amazing rock (not so much progressive but still really good) album.

This was a very groovy start for a band that later would became one of the most popular bands in Progressive Rock.

Report this review (#2480917)
Posted Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Review Permalink

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