Sure Bryan Adams sings about how great summer of Ď69 was, but it really wasnít that great at all, hence the stereotype that Canadians cannot be trusted. See, in the summer of Ď69 the great genre we know as progressive had still not fully evolved into the beautiful beast it was in the 70s. Genesis were Bee Gees wannabes, Pink Floyd were busy playing quirky post-psychedelic songs, and King Crimson were the only band with enough balls to make a real prog record. And the most pretentious, over the top, mystical and cheesy band we know as Yes had not yet started making 20 minutes epics. Yes
shows the band in its embryonic stage, virtuoso guitarist Steve Howe or keyboardist Rick Wakeman still hadnít joined.
The result of Howeís and Wakemanís absence is a considerably less powerful band. Most of the focus, mainly due to the amateur production, is on Bill Brufordís drums. Not a bad thing, any drummer whoís played in King Crimson obviously has some chops, but the crunching, raw sound of Billís drum doesnít go well with the soft sound of the other instruments. The other well known super-human player in Yes is bassist Chris Squire, who did play on this album. Instead of playing his bass like a lead instrument with a crisp sound like in later Yes albums, heís kept low in the mix throughout the album, the bass not very prominent or interesting. All the musicians are clearly inexperienced, but still create some great instrumentals.
The songs range from short poppy songs, to less typically structured songs leading to swirling, fast-paced jams. The jams are pretty simple, keeping to their principle of playing simple blues-based music intertwined with melodic psychedelic pop. I See You
however, breaks into a manic jazz jam lead by Peter Banksí guitar while Bruford really shows his talents at drums, showing the bandís capabilities. Unfortunately the songís jam is the only interesting part of it, the rest of I See You being a slow song with Jon Andersonís annoyingly overdubbed vocals driving the musically and melodically dead song.
is the only song to show any of that signature lively, crunchy bass playing from Chris Squire. It continues shows more of what we could expect from Yes in the future; beginning with an upbeat organ and bass driven intro that slowly becomes more and more textural before the song turns into a melancholic sounding, piano driven, slow section, still maintaining itís texture. But the art of tempo shifts and Progishness on Yes
climaxes at the most adventurous Beatles cover ever, Every Little Thing
. Every member flexes their chops in the songs, the song unusually heavy and hectic for the album. One would never guess itís a Beatles cover (letís see that little bitch
Ringo drum like this!) until Banks sneaks in the Day Tripper
riff in the song. The start-stop tempo and quick music transitions are classic symptoms of Yesitus, the disease of rocking out uncontrollably in progressive fashion (other symptoms may include impotence and dry mouth.)
Despite a few shining moments that hint to prog rockís future, the album is pretty laid back. The songís are mostly stylings of Simon & Garfunkel married with fast paced Blues influenced 60s rock, a bit like early Jethro Tull. The album falls flat on some moments, melodies arenít interesting enough to back up the earnest instrumentation. Itís an overall uninteresting listen for those of us who like the monstrous, complex songs of Close to the Egde
, teetering way to much between early progressive/early hard rock and melodic 60s pop rock. Yes covered way too many musical bases for their debut, but Yes
is a good start for the boys nonetheless.
I in advance do not apologize for any mental/emotional anguish caused to Ringo Starr and/or his management.