YES — Yes (review)

YES — Yes album cover Album · 1969 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Prog Zone
Review - #1 (Yes - Yes)

This is the first of many classic albums to come out from the progressive rock band Yes. This album was released in July of 1969 and consisted of an interesting line-up of musicians. The current line-up consisted of Jon Anderson on vocals, Chris Squire on bass, Bill Bruford on drums, Peter Banks on guitar, and Tony Kaye on Hammond organ. This album displays the band in their early stages in which they are still developing their sound. It provides an interesting insight to how to band become goliaths of prog which we know them as today. Despite this album not aging as well as hoped, it still contains a few gems that go overlooked by most Yes fans.

When taking a look at the line-up, bassist Chris Squire does exactly what he need to. His bass performance throughout the album is incredibly prominent and gives real punch to some of the songs. In fact, I would say it is revolutionary. Jon Anderson's vocals on the other hand are fair but he seem like as if he holding back. The other band members do a solid job as well, from Bill Bruford's jazz like drums to Peter Banks psychedelic guitar the musician box is definitely checked off. Beyond and Before is the first track on the album and was written by Squire and Clive Bailey. Clive Bailey was the former singer and guitarist in Mabel Greer's Toyshop, the rock band that was a precursor to Yes. The band would open their live shows with this tune, which features some terrific three-part harmonies. Chris Squire described the track as "one of those acid rock kind of songs" with its psychedelic lyrics. Despite the song including some interesting chord progressions and a nice vocal melody it only stays as a decent song, though, isn't necessarily bad either. I See You is a cover song that was originally written by the band the Byrds. Peter Banks once stated that he was disappointed with the version recorded for the album as he later recognized the mistakes on it. It contains some jazz like interplay between Peter Banks and Bill Bruford that is a delight to hear. I would actually consider this to Peter Bank's finest work on the album, including some wonderful improvisions and well written melodies. However, I feel as if the improvisation goes on for a bit longer than necessary. Nevertheless, it is a solid track but isn't nothing necessarily groundbreaking either. Yesterday and Today is a short but very pleasant acoustic that contains so nice vocals from Jon Anderson. Next up is Looking Around which is one of the highlights of the album. In addition, it remains to be one of Chris Squire's favorite tracks on the album. When it came to recording it, the band actually had some difficulties with its pitching as they were unsure on what key the song was in. There is some great Hammond organ from Tony Kaye that is present through the entire song. Exceptionally solid track!

Harold Land seems to be somewhat forgotten but remains as a genuinely remarkable song. This track yet again displays some nice keyboard work from Tony Kaye but also some robust drums coming from Bill Bruford. Harold Land remains as a good example of the path Yes would take when going into the future. Every Little Thing is yet another single which is originally from The Beatles. Chris Squire once said, he didn't realize how much he liked the band's version until he turned on the radio after performing at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1984 and heard the instrumentation. He believed that the it was almost a new song being played until Anderson's voice was heard, making it a cover. Despite the cover being an improvement to the original Beatles song, due to it's more interesting and complex arrangement, I still don't believe it is a great song by any means. My favorite version of Every Little Thing can be found on the Songs From Tsongas - Yes 35th Anniversary Concert, great rendition! Nevertheless, the version found here is still good but non-essential. Sweetness is the first song that Jon Anderson and Chris Squire (including former Mabel Greer's Toyshop guitarist Clive Bailey) collaborated on following their initial meeting. The song contains some interesting vocal harmonies but is drenched with the feel of a 60s love ballad with some progressive rock touches. Overall, it is still a good song that has a great build-up near the end. My favorite moment on this album has to be Survival. It includes stunning guitar in addition to some great keyboard melodies from Tony Banks. It's a track that I find myself revisiting the most while showing the greatest comparisons to how Yes' career would be like in a few years.

Yes' debut is an overall solid album that unfortunately suffers from the issue of few songs that never get past that "fairly good" point which brings down the album from the potential it might have reached. Nevertheless, from beginning to end this album is a terrific listen. It shows the early stages of what Yes would come to be. They were able to craft an album that is very unique in its own right while also displaying what they had to offer. If you haven't heard this album, and you are a fan of Yes I'd definitely recommend taking a listen. A good but non-essential album!

- π˜›π˜©π˜ͺ𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘷π˜ͺ𝘦𝘸 𝘸𝘒𝘴 𝘰𝘳π˜ͺ𝘨π˜ͺ𝘯𝘒𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘳π˜ͺ𝘡𝘡𝘦𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 π˜—π˜³π˜°π˜¨ 𝘈𝘳𝘀𝘩π˜ͺ𝘷𝘦𝘴 (http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=2535927)
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