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YES

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.25 | 1272 ratings

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TCat
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.

TCat | 3/5 |

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