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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover

THE YES ALBUM

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2541 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
Prog Reviewer
5 stars It is Yes' third album, and first major band change. Atlantic was considering dropping the band because their last two albums were not commercially successful. Because of this, Peter Banks was replaced by someone who would prove to be an amazing and prolific artist, Steve Howe. This proved to be a very wise choice by the band and would be their first great move towards being the legendary band, the second great move being the addition of Rick Wakeman after the release of this album.

Steve Howe was chosen because of his ability to play any style he wanted to with ease, being able to switch from electric guitar to acoustic, from rock to country music, with hardly a blink of the eye. It was also Howe's professionalism and expertise that caused Tony Kaye to leave because he thought his playing didn't live up to Howe's. As can be heard on the song "A Venture" on this album, Kaye's playing was fairly one-sided and not dynamic and technical enough to keep up with Howe and even to match up to Squire's amazing bass. That is the one song that is lacking on this album because it was supposed to feature Kaye's keyboards, and it failed.

Other than that, this album shines and is such an immense improvement over the last two albums. It opens with the staccato/percussive guitar hook that immediately introduces Howe as a major force to be reckoned with. Suddenly, Yes meant business. All of the music and the production improved greatly for this album including the compositions. There is a sudden shift to concentrating on progressive techniques and longer songs. Now the songs could be developed the way they needed to be and an entire world of artistry and imagination were being incorporated in the band's work. This album is carried more by Howe and Squire and probably has more variation and spotlight on the guitars than any other Yes album up until Drama.

There is a lot more dynamic change in this album than previously. Jon's vocals had improved, even though he always had a degree of vulnerability to his vocals, they were much better and stronger than before. Lyrics were also improving.

To prove my point as to the importance of this album and the proof that things had improved so much to the point of 5 star excellence, we have 4 of the 6 tracks still being considered classic and essential Yes compositions: the very exciting and enticing "Yours is No Disgrace" with it's signature and powerful hook that can't be denied as being one of the best in rock music, the very progressive, dynamic and varying "Starship Trooper" with it's surprise acoustic interlude and with one of the most tense and exciting coda's ever that ends with the explosive guitar solo that unfortunately gets faded out too early, "Your Move/Seen All Good People" which is the popular rock standard with two movements and a driving beat on the 2nd half after such a lovely acoustic 1st half and some of Jon's best vocals and harmonies that would become signature Yes sound, and the hard driving stop/start progressive classic "Perpetual Change". "The Clap" is also an amazing guitar solo from Howe early on in the track list put there so that if you doubted Howe's expertise from the previous song (and I don't know how anyone could doubt it) then he had his chance to establish himself as one of the very best guitarists ever, there couldn't be any doubt after that. The only weak track is "A Venture" but it was short and it doesn't really distract from the greatness of the rest of the album.

The most amazing thing here, is that after this masterpiece, Yes had realized they had a reputation that they wanted to hold on to, so their expectations rose even more. Since Kaye had doubt in his own musicianship after Howe was brought on, the rest of the band knew that the insecurity wouldn't make their music better and the only way to keep progressing was to find a keyboardist that would match up to the level they were expecting. They found him and, believe it or not, things got better. Most bands would have been happy with an amazing album as this, but Yes knew they could do even better. Still, this album is still awesome and deserves a 5 star rating too. Amazing music by an amazing band---The Yes Album!

TCat | 5/5 |

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