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FLASH

Flash

Eclectic Prog


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Flash Flash album cover
3.68 | 109 ratings | 19 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Small Beginnings (9:23)
2. Morning Haze (4:32)
3. Children Of The Universe (8:55)
4. Dreams Of Heaven (12:57)
5. The Time It Takes (5:48)

Total Time: 41:48

Bonus track on 2009 remaster:
6. Small Beginnings (Single version) (3:06)

Line-up / Musicians

- Colin Carter / lead vocals, percussion
- Peter Banks / acoustic, electric & Spanish guitars, melodica, ARP synth, backing vocals
- Ray Bennett / bass, acoustic rhythm guitar (2), lead (2) & backing vocals
- Mike Hough / drums, cymbals, percussion, voice

With:
- Tony Kaye / organ, piano, ARP synth

Releases information

Artwork: Hipgnosis with Maurice Tate (tinting)

LP Sovereign ‎- SVNA 7251 (1972, UK)

CD One Way Records ‎- S21-17796 (1994, US)
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2166 (2009, UK) Remastered with a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy FLASH Flash Music


FlashFlash
Purple Pyramid Records 2012
$15.99
In The Can /  FlashIn The Can / Flash
Remastered
ESOTERIC 2018
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FLASH Flash ratings distribution


3.68
(109 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
54%
Good, but non-essential (25%)
25%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

FLASH Flash reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Having been shown the door to slam by the rest of his Yes colleagues, Peter Banks spent a stint in Blodwyn Pig (most likely after Mick Abrahams had left) then built up his own group, made mostly from previous acquaintance though Yes, The Syn, Mabel Greer's Toy Shop etc.. No big names, except for Tony Kaye, that also had received the pink slip from Yes. Well Kaye was apparently never really a full-member of Flash, since he had his own projects to mind, including a David Bowie tour and his very own Badger group. So for this debut album, the line-up is your classic prog quartet, plus the singing belter. Released in early 72 on the small Capitol offshoot Sovereign Records with a shameless panty Hipgnosis gatefold artwork, the album was definitely aiming the charts, as did the album-opening track, released as a single. Actually, it did work somewhat as they were fairly successful in the US, where tons of kids bought the album mainly on account of the artwork.

It's quite obvious that Flash chose to open with their album capitalizing on their Yes heritage and Small Beginnings is a good shot at it, as you could almost believe it, if it wasn't for Carter's voice. As mentioned above, this track would see a shortened version released as a single and shot up to n°29 in the Billboard. It's fairly clear as well that Banks listened intently to the Yes albums that his former group did after his leaving and he obviously felt he had something to prove on this and the next album. Indeed most of the tracks on these two albums have more to do with Yes Album or Fragile than they had with Time And A Word or the Yes debut, which might have been less obvious. Morning Haze is a mostly acoustic ditty with almost delicate harmonies (I'm not a fan of Carter's voice or his dumb lyrics). The 9-mins Children Of The Universe returns to the Yes mould, mainly on the strength of Kaye's organ (both him and banks also play the ARP synth), but both Benett (bass) and Hough (drums) are capable as both had previous jazz-band experiences.

Just two tracks on the flipside and the almost 13?mins Dreams Of Heaven opens the hostilities on a semblance of Heart Of The Sunrise, before breaking abruptly into hard-rocking riff, veering jazzy just after wards, before changing again tempo and climate. Undeniably the album's centerpiece. The closing Time It Takes can only pale in comparison, but it's got its charms as well, even if the vocal lines are fairly uninspired

I find this relatively uninteresting but then again I seem to be in a minority. This is just derivative prog rock to me with "affirmative" leanings, with somewhat technical capabilities, but arriving nowhere-close to their target of Yes. I think that a lot of Yes-nuts like this because of the guitarist Peter Banks and the keyboardist Tony Kaye (later in Badger which is better) had their second chance after having received the boot. I'd never found the group worthy of owning an album of theirs, but had borrowed them from buddies, and borrowed the albums from my library system in order to write these baffling blunders. Maybe I would've been kinder to this band had they used more progish covers instead of blatantly appealing to young sex-hungry and virgins males teenagers

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the only FLASH`s album that I have. It was re-issued in CD by One Way Records in 1994, a label specialized in re-issues of out of print albums. I also have listened to their second album ("Flash in the Can", which I listened in a FM Radio station). This first album is better, because their second album lacks keyboards (piano and organ), but it has some synthesizers played by Peter Banks. Peter Banks said in one interview in 1994 (for the "Notes from the Edge" website, included in the yesworld.com website), that Tony Kaye was never an official member of FLASH. He was invited to play keyboards after he left YES in 1971 because the producer of the album wanted keyboards. So, FLASH was mainly a band formed by Banks, and in their first album Banks also composed most of the songs with singer Colin Carter, but also there are two songs by bassist Ray Bennett ("Morning Haze" and "Children of the Universe"), who became the main composer in FLASH`s second and third albums. Tony Kaye`s piano, organ and synth (Banks also is credited as synth player) are very good, but are more in the background, serving mainly as support.But the synth sounds very early 70s, dated, very "basic", used with the same sound for a few solos.Kaye plays a brief but very good organ solo in "The Time It Takes", the most "quiet" song in the album, with also a synth playing a "wind" sound in the background. Peter Banks`s guitars are very good in all the songs, being the main instrument, sounding with more "freedom" than when he was in YES. He also played a "classical guitar" in "Dreams of Heaven", maybe at the same time as Steve Howe in YES, as this album and "Fragile" were both recorded in late 1971. Ray Bennet was also a very good bass player, sometimes sounding "heavy" and "melodic" like Chris Squire and John Entwistle (and he also sang lead vocals in "Morning Haze"). Drummer Mike Hough plays a mixture of rock and jazz drums, sounding more in the style of Alan White than of Bill Bruford. Singer Colin Carter sounds for me sometimes like GTR`s Max Bacon, but he is also a good singer. There are some vocal harmonies similar to YES. The songs are very progressive, with a lot of changes. This album sounds similar to YES in some parts only. FLASH had their own style since the beginning.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After his days in Yes and a very brief stay in Bloodwyn Pig, Peter Banks started Flash together with lead vocalist Colin Carter, soon to be joined by bassist Ray Bennett and drummer Mike Hough. Former Yes-colleague Tony Kaye agreed to play keyboards on this one, more as a special guest than as a proper member. So, the final result turned out to be pretty similar to "The Yes Album", regarding the melodic sensibility and the sense of excitement portrayed in the performances, but with a major presence of jazz swing and a general tendency toward working on a more concise number of musical themes. These elements make the listener aware of the caliber of Bank's input for the forging of the Yes sound: something that should be more acknowledge than it usually is. In fact, Banks seems to have found in Flash a proper vehicle for a freer expansion of his guitar skills and musical ideas, with Bennett acting simultaneously as the perfect companion for Hough and an effective partner for Bank's guitar riffs and harmonies. Bennett's role proves crucial in the foundation of a solid ground for the musical colours displayed by the guitar, the vocal melodies and the keyboards. Tracks, 1, 3 & 4 are the longest and most elaborated numbers. 'Small Beginnings' and 'Children of the Universe' are tight and cohesively structured, catchy enough to call the listener's attention, and complex enough to keep the progressive flame burning solidly. 'Dreams of Heaven' is the longest of the three, and also the least cohesive in terms of arrangement, but the jazz interlude jamming, the brief Spanish guitar solo that comes after the ad-lib opening, and the vocal melodies are really captivating - it seems as if the parts could shine brighter than the whole, while in tracks 1 & 3 the parts were fully integrated in the whole making it compact and fluid. The remaining two tracks are less ambitious, but not unattractive: 'Morning Haze' is a CSNY-ish acoustic piece with slight bluesy nuances, while 'The Time It Takes' is an eerie ballad in which the organ layers provide a proper landscape for Carter's introspective singing and Banks' soft picked leads. The whirling of a distant wild wind (played on ARP synthesizer) serves as a proper background for the fade-out, since it enhances the song's ethereal ambience. A great record this is, so it must be considered as an excellent addition to any good prog collection.
Review by Progbear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars If nothing else, this record serves to provide listeners with a sort of answer to the hypothetical question, "What would Yes have sounded like had Peter Banks never left?"

The answer is, "Not too terribly different."

Howe and Banks have nearly congruent sets of influences, and oddly, very similar bags of riffs. This whole album has the weird feel of a Parallel Universe version of THE YES ALBUM. Of course, Tony Kaye's at the organ stool has a lot to do with that, but likewise Banks' guitarwork and arrangements are eerily similar to those found on THE YES ALBUM. On the other hand, Colin Carter, while a fine vocalist in his own right, is pretty far removed from Anderson stylistically. And the lyrics certainly lack Anderson's spacey charm.

Of course, this does look a bit pallid in the end when compared to its illustrious companion. But I don't accuse Banks of "imitating" Yes, nor cashing in on their success. He was IN Yes, so it's only fitting that his own band should sound similar.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is an album clearly made in the shadow of that great progressive rock band Yes. However, unlike Starcastle and other such followers, Flash have a genuine excuse. The band was founded by Peter Banks and Tony Kaye, both of whom were unceremoniously ditched by Yes despite also being founder members of that esteemed group. While it's hard to dispute the fact that both Banks and Kaye were replaced by superior musicians (Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman respectively), neither deserved to be treated with such disrespect, and this album is an excellent riposte to their critics.

Flash preserves that sound of 60s Yes which somewhat ironically reached its zenith on 1971's The Yes Album. Small Beginnings in particular is an epic track which could have slipped quite comfortably onto that masterful album. It has all the hallmarks, with storming riffs (with some of Banks's best ever playing), an inventive rhythm section (bassist Ray Bennett and drummer Mike Hough), and even a nice organ solo from Kaye, while vocalist Colin Carter sounds very much like Yes frontman Jon Anderson.

The two other epics Children of The Universe and Dreams Of Heavens aren't quite as consistent but both have moments of great power. I love the break that occurs halfway through Children Of The Universe which leads into a Moog solo, with Banks then reasserting his general dominance of proceedings. Dreams Of Heaven is a piece that begins with some solo classical guitar by Banks before the whole band comes stomping through with a rhythm that screams Roundabout rip-off, but once again, around the 5 minute mark there are some excellent solo exchanges, with a breathtaking jazz solo from Banks a real highlight. The outro of this piece is also scintillating with Bennett and Hough propelled Banks to new heights.

The two shorter pieces are quite different in style from the storming epics. Morning Haze is a laid-back acoustic jam, with Banks playing some beautiful acoustic guitar, strong vocal harmonies too, while The Time It Takes is a moody, atmospheric ballad full of volume swells, guitar and keyboard washes and the sound of waves hitting the shore. It works surprisingly well as the album closer.

I would recommend this strongly to any prog fan in general, and deem it absolutely essential for those who enjoyed the first three Yes albums. ... 78% on the MPV scale

Review by ghost_of_morphy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As I read the reviews for this album, I find that they are all slightly deceptive about the Flash sound.

Of course Flash had strong roots in Yes. But the Flash sound does not harken back to A Time and a Word (except for Dreams of Heaven), and neither does it echo the new style that Yes established beginning with the Yes album, wth one exception (that being that parts of Dreams of Heaven seem to foreshadow the "word pictures" that Jon began including in Yes lyrics, most notably in Siberian Khatru.) In fact it sounds like they took off from Time and a Word and then started moving in the same direction that Camel was to follow in a year or two, but with a nod towards the early prog band Fantasy.

Nevertheless, this is excellent prog. Peter Banks has really cleaned up his playing and Kaye is still at the height of his skills. Ray Bennett adds a lot to this grouping, with his strong bass and acoustic playing.

Dreams of Heaven is an epic as worthy of mention as anything else that other prog groups have released. It's a great piece of music that I enjoy often. Children of the Universe is another extremely strong song.

Sadly, Flash was quickly to fall back into mediocrity. But they started out great. 4 stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Flashy!

Flash tends to get compared to Yes, which is not strange since two ex-Yes members are in this group; Peter Banks and Tony Kaye. When Banks was replaced by Steve Howe he formed this group and Tony Kaye (who was replaced by Rick Wakeman at the same time) joined him.

There are some similarities between Flash and the first two Yes albums but it also bears some strong similarities to The Yes Album, I would say. Especially on the first track here, Small Beginnings, this song is not very far away from Yours Is No Disgrace in its style. The music of Flash also sometimes reminds me of the band Nektar.

The guitar work of Peter Banks is very good here, perhaps even a bit flashy at times, and it has clearly improved compared to his playing on Time And A Word. However, Banks guitar sound is not at all as distinctive and unique as that of Steve Howe. Tony Kaye has also expanded his horizons, while coming from only playing Hammond organ and piano he also plays a Moog solo in Children Of The Universe. Certainly not Wakeman-flash, but it adds to the piece.

Another similarity with Yes is in the tendency towards Yes-like harmony vocals. However, the actual lead vocals are very different compared to those of Jon Anderson, which gives some uniqueness to this group. There is nothing wrong with the vocals here, but they are not very distinctive (again, similar to the vocals by Nektar).

The material is melodic and strong and everything is very well performed. Judged as a successor to Time And A Word this is indeed a very good album. But in comparison with The Yes Album, Fragile and Close To The Edge, however, this falls very far behind - but then again, in my opinion, almost everything falls very far behind those incredible masterpieces! While Yes evolved with each subsequent album, Flash seems to have been stuck somewhere between Time And A Word and The Yes Album. But that is not a bad place to be stuck in and they do also add their very own touch to it making it worthwhile for all Prog fans.

Flash still holds up pretty well in the extended Yes family-tree among band like The Syn, Badger, Asia, GTR, ABWH, Conspiracy, etc. But they are not at the very the top of my Yes-related top list.

If Peter Banks had stayed in Yes and Steve Howe had never joined, this album gives us a very good idea of what Yes would have sounded like. And what we hear is very good. But still, luckily Steve Howe did join Yes and the rest is history, as they say.

This album is recommended for Yes fans and fans of early Symphonic Prog. It took some time for me to realise how good this was, but now I see its beauty.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars After leaving (or getting kicked out of) Yes, guitarist Peter Banks and keyboardist Tony Kaye formed this band. Not surprisingly, Flash sounds quite a bit like early Yes. The opening track Small Beginnings appears to have been written after numerous listens to Roundabout. The two songs have a very similar structure. And copying Yes' hit did Flash well. A single edit of Small Beginnings managed to get a reasonable amount of airplay back then.

Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn't fare as well. While the tracks all still have a fair amount of that early Yes sound, the songs are all quite forgettable. And the recording quality is very rough.

But still, if you are a big Yes fan, this is a must.

2.5 stars, rounded up.

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars First Flash album selftitled from 1972 is to me a little underrated. like their second onea swell. Formed by two ex Yes members Peter Banks and Tony Kaye. This first Flash release sounds almost like The yes album but without the complexity of Yes album. Flash to me sounds a bit more rockier then Yes, but keeping the progressive elements on every piece. Tracks like Small Beginnings or Children of the universe are perfect Flash pieces, great and smooth in same time. I like that the pieces are complex enough not to become boring and are very well performed and written in same time. A good album in my book that worth 3 stars, but I don't think is their best out of 3. To me their most acomplished album is In the can, their second one, but I think I'm in minority here. So, a good album that worth be investigated for sure.
Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After being unceremoniously booted out of Yes, guitarist Peter Banks licked his wounds and set to work forming a progressive rock band of his own. Having been an integral member of Yes during their formative years, when they produced albums such as 1968's eponymous debut and it's orchestrally-themed follow-up 'Time And A Word', Banks was therefore well- versed in the rhythmic complexities of prog-rock. His distinctive guitar style had helped form Yes' very own musical identity and still to this very day Banks is considered one of the genre's foremost axemen. Despite being dumped by the band he helped found and replaced by Steve Howe, he remained positive; Flash was the result. Featuring another Yes refugee in the shape of ex-Badger member and Hammond organist extraordinaire Tony Kaye, as well as bassist Ray Bennett, drummer Mike Hough and vocalist Colin Carter, Flash sparked into life with this vibrant, self-titled debut album in 1972, the same year that would unfortunately see Bank's former employers release one of progressive rock's greatest records - the sublime 'Close To The Edge'. One wonders what kind of legacy 'Flash' would have if, say, it had been released a year or so later, but the fact remains that 'Close To The Edge' completely overshadowed pretty much everything back in 1972, and for good reason. However, despite the spectre of his old outfit hanging over him, Banks did manage to produce the goods; 'Flash' is a colourful and skilfully-played album with searing guitars and Carter's semi-screeched lyrics combining to impressive effect, and the album's eclectic nature means that it is much more than just another Yes-clone(here's to you you Druid and England). Though the album features just five tracks, pretty much all of them rock. 'Children Of The Universe' is suitably epic, with Banks impressive playing to the fore, whilst the beautifully simple 'Morning Haze' eschews the prog in favour of the rock with spectacular results. Only the over-ripe 'Dreams Of The Universe', with it's 13-minute running time, fails to truly set the pulse racing, but it still contains enough instrumental verve to fill most 'rock' albums several times over, with Ray Bennett's throbbing bass-lines particularly noteworthy. When compared to the true big beasts of prog, 'Flash' does maybe seem slightly lightweight. It lacks the complex nature of Yes' best moments, and, at times, comes across as more of a rock album than a creation of prog, but that's the nature of the genre. 'Flash' probably belongs in that second tier of great prog albums, alongside the likes of Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' or Gentle Giant's 'Free Hand', which is certainly no bad thing. It may not be brilliant, but Banks and co came pretty close. Recommended.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After his departure from Yes in mid-1970 and some brief appearances with Blodwyn Pig and Chris Harwood, Peter Banks met with singer Colin Carter and decided to form his own band.It was found in London during the summer of 71' under the name of Flash and the line-up became complete with Ray Bennett on bass and Mike Hough on drums.Original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye was sucked by the band around the same time and was asked to join Flash, but he only appeared as a guest in the debut's sessions, before forming Badger.Flash'es first, self-titled album was recorded in November 1971 at the De Lane Lea Studios in Wembley with Martin Birch and Derek Lawrence as sound engineer and producer respectively, both were long-time collaborators of Deep Purple.''Flash'' was eventually released on Sovereign Records in February 72'.

With ''The Yes album'' already out, having a trully captivating sound, you can only think that Banks was partially influenced by his former band's innovative work, as the debut of Flash draws resemblances with the legendary album of Yes.The sound is dominated by tons of electroacoustic interplays, irritating Jon Anderson-like vocals, multi-vocal singing lines and frenetic changes between tempos with the guitar in the forefront.On the other hand Flash'es debut was much guitar-oriented with supporting performances on keyboards with Tony Kaye as a guest and Banks even handling some ARP synth flashes.So expect a YES-like style with lots of complex themes and shifting moods, showered by light acoustic flavors and discreet psychedelic moves.Flash combined the poppy sensibilities and some intense organ and synth runs with the emerging power and charm of Progressive Rock, the result was captivating compositions, always highlighted by Banks' complicated guitar lines and the trully dynamic bass playing of Bennett.The long tracks are quite great with more keyboard emphasis towards a more balanced sound and lots of jazzy plays on guitar, maintaing the rock component in a high level but also delivering a unique atmosphere filled with tricky plays.

Great debut by Flash, on the same level as ''The Yes album'' to my ears.Dense, guitar-driven Prog Rock with minor Pop and keyboard-based stylings, very interesting and strongly recommended.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars As far as I can remember, Flashīs debut album was not released in Brazil. and therefore, only recently I could get a copy of this record to listen to. I really didnīt know that Tony Kaye (another ex Yes member) was playing in it (albeit credit as a guest). So, with two Yes members on board, a Jon Anderson sound alike singer and a bass player that emulates a lot of Chris Squire bass style, it is no wonder this CD sounds a lot like early Yes; a kind of a link between Time And A Word and The Yes Album. Even the vocal harmonies are very much like Peter Banks former band.

Itīs easy to see why Flash didnīt make a big impact on the music scene. With Yes at its peak, who would give much credit to a lesser version of the original? Please, donīt get me wrong: although derivative, the music in here is very good and sometimes they even produce a few original bits, like the acoustic Morning Haze (sung by bassist Ray Bennett) or adding a little King Crimson arrangement to one of the songs to spice things up. But again, with such competition (Howe and Wakeman having joined Yes by then) they stood no chance from day one and critics were not very kind.

However, I think that fans of Yes will like this CD far more nowadays, especially if you like their early stuff. Banks and Kaye did contribute to the "Yes sound" a lot more than they got credit for. Although hardly essential, this is a fine album to listen to and show potential for greater things.

Itīs only nostalgia, ok, but I like it.

Review by Progfan97402
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If it weren't for the Yes connections, I would have passed on this group because their albums were always graced with very tasteless and unprog-looking covers. I guess Peter Banks felt the group needed artwork that's the polar opposite of Roger Dean to show they're more grounded than Yes. This was their debut, released not too long after Fragile, and with not just Peter Banks, but Tony Kaye on board, it's little surprise this sounds not unlike how Yes may have sounded like had Peter Banks stayed on board. Colin Carter at times sounds like Jon Anderson, and gets help with Ray Bennett on bass and Michael Hough on drums as well. And to my ears, despite the very extended solos found throughout the album it's still more grounded than Yes. I was really surprised that "Small Beginnings" was actually a hit as I never heard this song on the radio, and I'm old enough to remember how FM radio was like, to be honest I was too young to remember when FM radio was something like progressive FM rock radio, as opposed to the much more familiar AOR format that I grew up on. But this song does have that Yes feel, and it's a bit obvious. "Morning Haze" moves away from the Yes-template to a more acoustic piece, more in tune with the likes of Crosby, Stills & Nash (well a little) than Yes. "Children of the Universe" starts off sounding not much like Yes, but then as it progresses, the Yes sound does return. I am rather baffled about the ARP synthesizer (likely 2600 as it was still too early for the Odyssey) as Tony Kaye seemed at that time resistant of playing anything other than organ and piano, and the reason Yes replaced him with Rick Wakeman who had no trouble also using Moog and Mellotron. "Dreams of Heaven" again shows a Yes influence, but this is a really lengthy piece where Peter Banks really shows what he's capable of on guitar. "The Time it Takes" closes the album, and I love this piece. Not quite as Yes-like here, it's a nice organ-dominated ballad.

This was obviously the only album with Tony Kaye, he would jump ship to Badger. Regardless, it's not a perfect album, some of the solos tend to go on longer than needed, but I love how it sounds like a more down to earth version of Yes. Worthy of your attention, especially if you're a Yes fan.

Review by VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review Nš 231

As we know, Peter Banks was an English guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and producer. He was the original guitarist of the bands Syn, Yes, Flash, and Empire. But, he became more known as the original guitarist of the famous progressive rock band Yes. But unfortunately, for him but certainly not for Yes, he became also known for being the first person to be fired from the ranks of Yes. When he was on Yes, Banks contributed with his lead guitar skills to the first two studio albums of Yes, "Yes" and "Time And A Word", was responsible for the name of the band and designed the original, pre Roger Dean, Yes logo. The problem begun when Anderson and Squire decided they wanted an orchestra backing the five musicians on their second album. It wasn't well received by Banks because the orchestral arrangements left the guitarist, as well as keyboardist Tony Kaye, with little to do, since strings replaced their parts almost note-for-note.

As soon as he left Yes, while he was occupying his time with mostly session work in the interim, Banks formed Flash, in 1971, with Chris Carter (lead vocals and percussion), Peter Banks (backing vocals, electric, acoustic and Spanish guitars, synthesizer and horn), Ray Bennett (lead and backing vocals, bass guitar and acoustic guitar) and Mike Hough (voice, drums, percussion and cymbals). The album had also the participation of Tony Kaye (synthesizer, Hammond organ and piano). There is some controversy over whether Kaye, who appeared on the first Flash album, was actually an "official" member of the group, or merely a guest. The confusion stems from the fact that Kaye is listed alongside the other members of the group on the back cover of the album. Still, interviews with Banks and Kaye confirm that, though Kaye was invited to join, he declined. So, he only participated on the album as a guest. With Banks on board, Flash released three studio albums, "Flash" and "In The Can", in 1972 and "Out Of Our Hands", in 1973, and two live albums, "Psychosync", in 1997 and "In Public", in 2013. But Carter and Bennett, released a fourth studio album in 2013.

It would may not become as a surprise that the music on "Flash" sounds quite much like to Yes. Besides, this was their debut album and represents their classic release too. "Flash" is an energetic progressive rock album in the vein of Yes' third studio album "The Yes Album" but with some differences and changes. Still, any lover of Yes will eat up many tracks on the album especially the lengthy tracks. There are also some shorter and relaxed tracks here, but it's of course in the long tracks the group really shines. The performance all over the album is good, and besides the excellent playing of both Kaye and Banks you'll also notice the powerful bass playing of Bennett, in the same vein of Squire. Whereas Yes has moved on considerably with the release of "The Yes Album" and "Fragile", "Flash" continued on from where "Time And A Word" had left off. So, somehow, we may say that "Flash" represents the continuity of the first Yes group and represents probably what Yes would be if Banks and Kaye would have continued as members of the band.

"Flash" is the eponymous debut studio album of Flash and was released in 1972. The album has five tracks. "Small Beginnings" is a very good track and it has a certain resemblance to "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" which opened "Time And A Word". Banks provides a good guitar work supported by a nice drum rhythm of Hough and Bennett's upfront bass lines. Kaye's brief organ solo work and Carter's falsetto complete the all picture. "Children Of The Universe" returns to the bombast of the opening track. It has a tight and cohesively structure and is catchy and complex enough to call the listener's attention. This is a suitably epic with some Banks impressive playing. "Dreams Of Heaven" is centred around a nice guitar riff and chant like double tracked vocals, it's really an opportunity for Banks in particular to demonstrate his technical skills. This is the least cohesive track of the three epics, in terms of arrangement, but it still is really captivating. Of the two remaining tracks, "Morning Haze" is a much simpler track with the bassist also supplying the lead vocal. It has a sunny Caribbean vibe thanks to the dual acoustic guitar picking, but I can see nothing special on it. "The Time It Takes" is a dreamy ballad that attempts to capture the pastoral quality of Yes' "Sweetness". It does however benefit from Banks' familiar weeping guitar lines and Kaye's tasteful organ playing.

Conclusion: "Flash" is the continuity of first Yes and represents probably what Yes would be if Banks and Kaye would have continued on Yes. Of the original line up, two members are present, Banks and Kaye. About the other three, if Bennett plays in the same vein of Squire and Hough can do Bill Bruford's style drumming at moments, Carter isn't Jon Anderson. Besides, Banks isn't Steve Howe as a performer and composer. But above all, it lacks to Flash the creativity and the vision of Anderson and Howe. I always thought both were the main responsible for most of the best tracks on Yes. However, "Flash" is a nice album with some great moments. Whilst this album demonstrates Banks' unwillingness to relinquish the past, it also confirms his not inconsiderable input into the sound that shaped Yes' formative years.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars REVIEW #10 - "Flash" by Flash (1972). 07/08/2018 Guitarist Peter Banks was unceremoniously expelled from the band Yes two months prior to the release of their second studio album "Time and a Word". Despite playing on the album, its cover featured a picture of the band which included Banks's r ... (read more)

Report this review (#1946538) | Posted by SonomaComa1999 | Sunday, July 8, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Since I heard FLASH for the first time, one question stay "hammering" in my mind; "Why Peter Banks was so limited in YES?... and I reply ... Is very difficult to understand !!! Although, I think which the progressive fans must be thanked for Steve Howe comes in YES, at the same time I recognize ... (read more)

Report this review (#526598) | Posted by maryes | Sunday, September 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When guitarist Peter Banks (and Tony Kaye) had to leave Yes after their second album ('Time And A Word'), Banks formed Flash; a band who made three albums in 1972 and 1973, of whom this self-entitled one was the first one. Meantime, Yes created their three historic albums that became the all t ... (read more)

Report this review (#126700) | Posted by Paul de Graaf | Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The unfortunate thing about this band was they were gone in a flash. They were that good, in my humble opinion, they were worthy of at least 3 more albums in addition to the 3 they produced. Not as tight as Yes the musicians were granted relative freedom to express themselves. Tony Kaye's role ... (read more)

Report this review (#25290) | Posted by DAVE M | Wednesday, February 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars this offspring from YES..had indeed their own style...that is to say..the style of Yes was partially thanks to Tony Kaye & Peter banks...as they were founder members of Yes. This record (and the 2 other outings from "FLASH")are actually their own "Yes-style" its...sort of...prog. with a fresh-Ye ... (read more)

Report this review (#25286) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Thursday, November 27, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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