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YEAR ONE

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Year One picture
Year One biography
YEAR ONE was a short-lived US act who was founded in 1970 by Bob Robbins (bass), Jim DeMeo (guitar), Mario Russo (keyboards) and Greg Kimple (drums).

Under their previous moniker Fantasy they had some minor success, but when charismatic singer Jamene Miller left that outfit in 1970 to pursue a solo career, they decided to drop that name and continue on as Year One.

They recorded and released a double concept album on a private label in 1971, and folded soon after.

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3.04 | 8 ratings
Year One
1971

YEAR ONE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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YEAR ONE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Year One by YEAR ONE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.04 | 8 ratings

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Year One
Year One Eclectic Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Year One is basically the Miami band Fantasy without their female vocalist (of course this Fantasy isn't to be confused with the UK group of Paint a Picture fame). This was a double album, apparently United Artists probably had no interest in this (Fantasy recorded for Liberty, by the time Year One came around, Liberty ceased to exist and most of their artists moved to United Artists) so it was released privately, as a double album. This really isn't some lost jewel, as you can often wish for obscure private presses. The big problem is the "double album syndrome". It's the same gripe I level at the far more popular The Wall from Pink Floyd (an album I personally felt was overrated). Brilliant material bogged down by a lot of filler. It's safe to say, unlike The Wall, no one is likely to overrated Year One. Year One works best when they're more adventurous, going a semi-psychedelic or semi-jazz rock direction, but some of the songs, like "As Much as I Know You" are just too plain repetitive with little creativity. The music appears to have Christian overtones, but they didn't seem overly preachy, unlike say, Scottish band Parable and their hyper-rare White Light album from 1974. It seems that Year One avoid direct bible quotes, or your typical "Jesus is my savior" lyrics, although there are references to the Book of Revelations in the lyrics, but still not a direct bible quote. One set of lyrics that really crack me up is "Morning Lights" that goes, "You say you want me to turn the sound down; so no one can see you or hear a sound? Well, If that's what it takes know the truth, then I'll build you a dark room and make it sound proof." What? Building a dark room? I never heard lyrics about building someone a dark room just you they can't hear you. Of course there was Roger Waters building a wall (that is Pink Floyd's The Wall), but at least we sorta get the idea behind the metaphor behind that wall. "The Juggler" is particularly nice, with nice synth parts to go with it. The music can't be really considered progressive rock in the Yes or Genesis manner, probably safer to call this "art rock", probably in a way the Minneapolis group Gypsy is (who are also in Prog Archives), or even Family, not that any of them are just like Year One, clearly Family is a much better band (Prog Archives used to have an Art Rock category, before they felt Heavy Prog, Eclectic Prog, and Crossover Prog could better describe various "art rock" groups, and it happens that Family, Gypsy, and Year One are Eclectic. Despite the rarity of Year One's sole album, it's not all that expensive, so unsurprisingly it's not featured in any of Hans Pokora's Record Collector Dreams series of books. In this case the somewhat low price this double LP asks for just demonstrates this music is hardly what you call life changing, but it does have some really nice material, but also some mediocre material that's plain to see.
 Year One by YEAR ONE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.04 | 8 ratings

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Year One
Year One Eclectic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars This short-lived crew produced this one album and split, but what they created is an effective mix of hard rock, jazz, folk, and psychedelic elements. Overall, it's an enjoyable album with quite a few rough patches. One of the lead vocalist sounds like a softer Derek Shulman; I might go so far as to say this album sounds like what I'd imagine it would be if early Uriah Heep got together with Gentle Giant and jammed with America a bit, but kept the instrumentation on the minimalistic side- a convoluted description perhaps, but the best I can come up with.

"E=MC-2" The band uses a combination of saxophone and synthesizer to make up one half of this initially bouncy work, but abruptly a gentle acoustic guitar and sweet steel guitar with pleasant vocals takes over (sounding like a cross between "Soon" by Yes and "Ventura Highway" by America).

"Now You Are in the Puzzle" Easing up a bit, the group offers a peaceful acoustic guitar and piano accompanying pleasant vocals. The spunkiness soon returns though, bringing in a funky saxophone solo and lead guitar.

"Morning Lights" Beautiful acoustic guitar and harmonies make for a lovely, folk-like listening experience.

"Jubilation" A sparse song with only percussion to fill the void at first, this song becomes more akin to 1960s folk rock, but features some sizzling guitar work. Adding variety is a sprightly flute solo.

"Your Love, My Love" Again the acoustic guitar is the main instrument. The vocals range from calm passages to high-pitched shrieks (think Uriah Heep), but keeps things mostly tranquil thanks to the fluttering woodwind- a highlight performance.

"Juggle" A swampier feel is made by muffling the guitar and bass and adding some quivering keyboard. If there were a song on this album to really appeal to Gentle Giant fanatics, this would be it.

"Transitory River" Soft electric piano, working through mostly major and diminished chords make up this quieter piece. Even though it is soft, I find this to be one of the best tracks on the record, reminiscent of parts of the Gentle Giant album Three Friends.

"Flood" A gritty guitar riff kicks this one off, and lays the foundation for saxophone and bass solos, two instruments that almost seem to be competing with each other.

"Universal Love Song" Placid acoustic guitar, soft keyboards, and quavering vocals make up this docile tune. It becomes something of a Mediterranean waltz toward the end, though.

"Year One" The title track begins with classic guitar and meek singing. As it adopts a fuller sound, it also introduces a theatric, deep voice similar to "Genetic Control" from Genesis's "Get 'Em Out by Friday." The music ceases for a moment, and then brings in falsetto vocals and raunchy saxophone and guitar- not at all a smooth or enjoyable way to continue the piece.

"We Look Out at You" This uncomplicated rock song reminds me of The Who both in sound and structure, but adds texture with a distant organ. The guitar solo works over a steady bass pounding out the same note.

"As Much as I Know You" Here is even more variety for this album- a country song that sounds just like The Eagles would have done early on in their career.

"Rock 'N' Roll Nights" As the name might suggest, this is a rock and roll boogie- as progressive as one of ELP's "comic relief" tracks, but almost as good as an early Blue Oyster Cult number.

"Above You" Electric piano and acoustic guitar make up the bulk of this short song, but it includes America-like harmonies and some southern rock grit.

"True My Lord" A simple acoustic rock song, this sounds a great deal like Neil Young.

"Champion" The band doesn't put away their acoustic guitars- on the contrary, they bring out more, and keep things in the style country-inspired folk rock. A few times through there is a shift towards more Van Morrison-like jazz.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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