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Flash - In The Can CD (album) cover

IN THE CAN

Flash

 

Eclectic Prog

3.32 | 94 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Obviously upset that Supertramp dared the bare-chest artwork on their Indelibly Stamped album, Flash decided to choose a slightly less tackier breast artwork, well in line with the just as tacky panty artwork of their debut album. Musically this album is much in the logical Yessian musical evolution, despite deeply missing the lack of organ and other keyboards of Tony Kaye, gone to found Badger (you may want to check that first album, before checking this one out). The other four members soldiered on courageously and managed a fairly good second album, despite Kaye's absence, but shared fairly evenly the songwriting, Banks (the so-called founder) only sharing one credit, while bassist Bennett taking 2.5.

As you can expect, the Flash soundscape changed direction a fair bit and this album is very guitar-oriented, but it's also shamelessly ogling at Banks' (and Kaye's) ex-colleagues' now successful works. It is actually a wonder that they resisted asking Roger Dean to work for them. Indeed, the group uses every Yes tricks in the book and manages not to be ridiculous, despite Bank's obvious frustrations of getting the boot before hitting the big times and trying to prove he could get the job done. What I mean here is that Flash's first two albums sound much more like Fragile or Yes album, than Time And A Word, when both Banks and Kaye where still both in Yes.

The opening 10-mins Lifetime has a definite Roundabout edge, at least when not considering the songwriter Colin Carter's vocals, but if you go past his voice, you'll find a Squire and Bruford-like rhythm (but obviously not as perfect) and a Steve Howe electric guitar style that Banks didn't have before starting this group. You'll easily guess that the short Stop That Banging is drummer Mike Hough-penned and is a drum pieces, but not even close to Bruford's piece on Fragile. Bennett's Monday Morning Eyes does stick out as being a little less derivative with an usual opening guitar line, but it's quite average, IMHO. The album's centerpiece is the 12-mins Black And White track, which definitely shows the gap between the master and the pupil. While still a decent track with plenty of Yes-born breaks and counterbreaks, it is at time laborious (even arduous) and sounds forced, especially when it comes to Carter's vocals; and in the middle section, the groups gets almost lost in their own backyard and Banks' use of the ARP Synth sounds like a soup-mixer. The closing and aptly-titled No More There (I know ;o))) will finish tiring your eardrums with Yessongs without having Anderson's voice in it, despite being the most ambitious track of the album.

I wonder how many copies Flash sold their albums solely because of the cover. As Tony Kaye moved on to Badger (investigate this also, as the debut is very worthy), Peter Banks finds himself alone at the commands (at the controls of an ARP that he doesn't), and here there are 10 min + numbers that try a little too hard at sounding like major league prog ala Yessauce. Still all Flash albums are worth a spin and an attentive listen, but despite the derivative music, it should please most Yes fans, much more than Druid or Starcastle. I never bothered to fill a cassette or a CD-R to make my usual compilation, though. My rating is more or less a 90 B.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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