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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.30 | 2926 ratings

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4 stars All bands hope that a transition can work their way out of tough times. Yes managed to do so and put themselves on a path that would solidify their ranks as one of the early forgers of prog. The swapping of guitarists, the industrious Steve Howe, adds a new dimension to the band's sound; while the band attempts to add great lengths and depths to their songs. Squire and Bruford have made definite improvements over Yes and Time And A Word, which will eventually lead them to their name-stays in the future.

Yours Is No Disgrace opens the album, showing a drastic change in style from their first two albums, and showcasing the power of Howe. Howe shows some rip-roaring guitar, possibly the fastest of his era. Squire and Bruford show some complex beats underlying the main theme of the song. Then the verse/chorus presents the first essence of the classic Yes vocal chorus. The song tends to cycle back to the same theme, so there isn't much to say, but it provides a different tooling each time. Howe gets a solo of constant stereo panning, including the band going into several crescendos. This marks the beginning of what's to come.

The Clap is a live version of the many solo songs that Howe would create, another indicator of the band showing off his abilities. The Clap is an acoustic diddy, and sounds pretty playful for a tune to be put on this album. Obviously this style would appear again with Mood For A Day, the opening to And You And I, and many sections of Tales From Topographical Oceans. I would suggest getting the remaster since it contains the original version the band intended to use.

Starship Trooper represents the early success of Yes in terms of progressiveness and musicianship. The song divided into three segments Life Seeker, Disillusion, and Würm. Life Seeker is the most memorable portion with the main riff and Howe's around-the-board playing. We also get a demonstration of Anderson's vocal ability, and Bruford's syncopated rhythms. The following section of Disillusion is similar to The Clap in the sense that Howe rips out a wild acoustic section. The main theme returns for a moment before the long repetitive Würm section comes in. I have to say that this section really builds up until Howe's closing solo, and Squire builds his bass in the back. The fadeout is something that ruins it a bit though, because none of the energy in the end is being built into anything except for Howe's solo. I must also say that the is one of the few times on the album where Kaye really can be heard well.

I've Seen All Good People has become a classic amongst rock radios, predating the popularity of Roundabout. The opening section is fairly unique for the time period, incorporating a cappella, wind instruments, and acoustic as the main drive. Some of this part of the song is really repetitive, but has charming qualities of it because of Anderson's singing. Your Move definitely creates a base for some future genres of prog, where bands like Renaissance and Genesis get some of their more medieval qualities. After the a long build of sound, the band goes into their groove section, where Howe again puts out some concrete solos. There is an influence of Jazz/Jazz fusion in this section mainly by the groove, clapping, piano and beat. Kaye has some fun with a regular piano in this section too. The song goes through the groove before coming back to the main line, but then slowly fading out with the song staircase-ing downward by half-steps.

A Venture is a bizarre piece at this point of the album, citing references to previous albums, and the short silly tunes that are found again on the next album Fragile. There is some bouncy piano and lyrics, but nothing I can site as being too special on the album. It's classic, classic Yes.

Perpetual Change is another nice piece in the vein of Starship Trooper, with a thick main riff and a calm verse. The chorus as well is a good addition where the chorus seems to ebb and flow with the instruments. There is some noodling in places while Howe gets more soloing. I only call it "noodling" in the good sense. The way the song is contrived allows for excessive expansion, since the song returns to theme a lot and contains some jazzy interludes. In terms of long songs on the album, this one seems to be decent as the rest; with the interludes and theme.

Besides the studio version of The Clap, the bonus tracks on the remaster are just tokens of the time period.

Overall, this album is key to those that wish to see the evolution of Yes and progressive rock, as this album creates many paths for which Yes went down. Sadly, Kaye would have to be booted. I wouldn't say that it's a masterpiece though, mainly for the fact that it was a transition period, Yes were still experimenting, and there is much more rock sound to it than abstraction.

FromAbove | 4/5 |


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