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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.30 | 2782 ratings

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3 stars "The Yes Album" is one of those interesting cases where all of the pieces for excellence are there, yet none of them seem to be working together quite as well as they should. An enjoyable effort nonetheless, "The Yes Album" is a good blueprint for what would come from the band down the line.

The one thing that you could say about the three "essential" Yes albums-this, "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge"-is that they are PERFECT adventure albums. No band was able to capture that swashbuckling sci-fi feel quite like Yes, and that's evident on the first and arguably best track, "Yours is No Disgrace". Opening with one of Steve Howe's most sweeping, energetic guitar riffs, the song conjures images of a grand adventure on a mysterious planet-it slows down a bit in places, and not to the song's advantage either, but overall it's a great way to start the album.

A lot of people enjoy "Clap", but...meh. Sounds like filler, is filler. Things pick up again with "Starship Trooper", a more meditative, wide-eyed take on that adventurous spirit I was talking about earlier-Yes never quite managed to kick their hippy/psychedelic roots and the fact that this song name drops "Sister Bluebird" in the first line makes that perfectly clear. Things go slightly awry when Howe tries to focus on that guitar riff for the last 4 minutes of the song, however-it's a nice build, but "nice" isn't good enough to focus on for half of the runtime.

"I've Seen All Good People" continues in the album's softer, more pacifistic vein, although it isn't psychedelic as much as it is simply pleasant. Even the largely instrumental charge that arrives when the bulk of the song has concluded is welcome after such a delightful sojourn. "A Venture" is yet another filler track-you can tell that Yes were far more interested in their 10 minute epics and weren't too keen on devoting much time to the shorter, non-single tracks(of which there are two). Finally, things end with "Perpetual Change", which is a little bit too similar in structure and tone to "Yours is No Disgrace" to really get excited about. The speaker drop psych-out does get me every time though, I will admit that.

As I said...all the parts were there, and yet the listener can't help but walk away from the album somewhat dissatisfied. The compositions are masterful, but they don't excite, not like they would later, and Anderson's stream-of-consciousness songwriting can at points be labeled as goofy rather than inspired. Overall, though, it's the the disjointed feel of the album that does it in-the feeling that it isn't so much a cohesive whole, but rather several songs that just happened to be placed next to each other. A fine enough album, it still forces one to wonder what a great album it could've been if it only had a little bit more of that "X" factor.

40footwolf | 3/5 |


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