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Yes - Yes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 1383 ratings

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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.

penguindf12 | 5/5 |


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