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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.31 | 3326 ratings

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4 stars Any Yes fan should at least respect this album, for if something of this magnitude hadn't been released, Yes was going to be dropped from their label. Who knows what would have ensued? "The Yes Album" is more catchy and accessible than later releases, but by no means any less brilliant. It saw new guitarist Steve Howe on board, bringing his fantastic and awe-inspiring guitar technique, a blend of folk/western, early rock riffing and progressive/ experimental elements. Howe is really the star of this album, for he even got his own solo track, track two of the whole album, for that matter!

The album starts with bang, wasting no time with an upbeat rhythm and Kaye's driving organ line. "Yours Is No Disgrace" doesn't hesitate to show off the skill of all the musicians. The solo/instrumental middle passage is a low point in the song, but it's too long before everything picks right back up. To hear some really great soloing, pick up the 1973 live album, "Yessongs." Howe's ill-titled solo piece "The Clap" (it's really supposed to just be "Clap), shows just how versatile he is. Pulling all the plugs out on his influences, it's almost impossible not to think of Chet Atkins (one of Howe's favourite guitarists) on this one. It is truly an amazing piece of acoustic guitar work. A real tour- de-force, "Starship Trooper" is the highlight of the album and a fan-favourite. The beginning part. "Life Seeker," was edited as a single, which is dominated by Howe's guitar and Kaye's atmospheric keyboard. "Disillusion" once again features Howe on acoustic guitar, one again just playing something amazing, along with Anderson and Squire vocal duo. Finally, an abrupt segue into "Wuerm" changes the pace for the whole song. Dominated by a dreamy and atmospheric three-chord progression from Howe, all the musicians slowly come in until a psychedelic space jam ensues. Squire's echoing bass and Kaye's organ give it an out-of-this-world feeling. Howe's outro solo on "Wuerm" is just sheer bliss.

"I've Seen All Good People" still gets adequate radio play even to this day, in both its full form and the edited single version. The whole song is popish, but nonetheless great. "Your Move" has a more low-key and reserved feeling with some thoughtful mandolin playing from Howe, minimal playing from Squire and Bruford and a recorder too. "All Good People" picks up the pace a lot with country-influenced guitar playing from Howe. Both parts of this song are a great foil to each other, one being more reserved and sleepy and the other more upbeat and inspiring. The simplistic "A Venture" follows, in which Kaye's bouncy piano playing dominates throughout. It's just a little fun song before a great closer. "Perpetual Change" shows the band playing at top form, with Bruford's usual intricate drumming keeping everything tied together. So many different moods and atmospheres are created, it's almost like a roller coaster. With such wonderful song structure and melodies, it's a shame such a song as this is underrated. A true classic indeed.

Yet "a true classic indeed" goes for the whole album as well. The production is sharp and bright, marring the music in no way. The only fault I can seem to muster up when it comes to this album are Anderson's repetitive lyrics. By all means I find them wonderful lyrics, but too often, in too many of the songs, he just sings the same line over and over. It's like too much of a good thing. But minor accusations aside, "The Yes Album" is an amazing piece of work, not even considering what was coming the following year ("Fragile" and "Close To The Edge"). Highly recommended to any progressive rock fan.

Arsillus | 4/5 |


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