Yes
Yes


3.5
great

Review

by Nagrarok USER (219 Reviews)
November 14th, 2010 | 67 replies


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not only is it underrated in their discography, Yes' debut was essential in eventually giving birth to progressive rock.

In 1969, progressive rock was still in its budding period. Taking a look at the Big Four: Pink Floyd was still fooling around with psychedelic experimentation, Genesis was debuting with a pop album, miles away from their eventual sound (or not, if you look at it the other way), and it wasn’t until the end of the year, when King Crimson released the album that sparked the whole movement, that progressive rock as we came to know it in the following decade was born. The last and most infamously virtuosic of the Four is of course Yes. What they were doing in '69 was basically the same: finding their sound.

The band was formed in ’68 by vocalist Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire, which also became the two most integral members in the group’s often-changing formation, Squire being the only constant member and Anderson having performed on all of their albums except one. The line-up of their self-titled debut was completed by guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye, and drummer Bill Bruford, who would of course tag along the longest of these three.

When comparing it to From Genesis to Revelation and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Yes’ debut is the only one showing signs of the prog tendencies to come. After all, what defined the progressive movement were mainly three things: lengthy songs, a fusion of rock with jazz and other styles, and technically accomplished musicianship. On this album, Yes is already doing these things on a moderate level. A 40-minute album with two songs over six minutes: check. A sound that is best described as a union of mid/late 60’s rock and jazz: check. Fairly technical musicianship: check. The songs would get epic, and with the coming of Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman, more accomplished, of course, but it is very interesting to see that the basis was already very much here.

That doesn’t mean Yes’ debut is interesting merely from a historical standpoint. It is actually quite a great album, with many pleasant songs. Beyond and Before is much more guitar-centred than most of the band’s classic material, but it’s definitely a nice change of pace, and Banks knows what he’s doing. The opener is more of a rock song, as the first real influence of jazz comes in only with I See You, which is actually a much extended cover of a Byrds song. The band play two covers on this album, the other being The Beatles’ Every Little Thing, an again much longer take that still retains the original sense of sweetness in Anderson’s signature high-register singing.

Harold Land is the most classic Yes-sounding track, the only one clearly demonstrating Squire’s typical crunching bass and the organ-driven sound that would be a major player on many Yes albums to come. Other highlights include Looking Around, again more of a rock song like Beyond and Before, but unlike that track including excellent use of the organ (proving that both Banks and Kaye really shouldn’t be denied credit), and the fitting closer Survival.

It really depends on how big a Yes fan you are when you want to know if getting this is worth it. Fragile and/or Close to the Edge are better introduction, but if you’ve been through the stretch of their classic years, that is up to Relayer, and yearn for more, their early years are well worth looking into. This debut is quite underrated and great in its own way, undeservedly much less popular than most things since the group’s third breakthrough album. Acquire if you wish to dig a little more into the birth of progressive rock.

Yes’ Yes was:

- John Roy Anderson ~ Lead Vocals
- Peter William Brockbanks ~ Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Christopher Russell Squire ~ Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Anthony John Selvidge ~ Organ, Piano
- William Scott Bruford ~ Drums

TO BE CONTINUED...




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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
November 14th 2010


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Basically I just have been writing a lot of reviews when I was off.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 14th 2010


8054 Comments


you are one mean reviewing machine.

Kudos.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 14th 2010


7504 Comments


Great review Nag. Always interesting to read into your knowledge and deep research base. I really look forward to more of your writings. It should be said that in terms of style and depth, there's lots that someone like me can learn/pick up by just observing your style.

random
November 14th 2010


2691 Comments


That cover is trippy.

Digging: The Vandals - Hitler Bad, Vandals Good

Nagrarok
November 14th 2010


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys. I see you've been a loyal commenter on my reviews recently Irving, it's much appreciated. Most of the 'research' just comes from listening a lot, it's useful to know a thing or two about similar bands from the era.

Nagrarok
November 14th 2010


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to the bigger names, but the man who really knows his prog here is Jethro42.

Jethro42
November 14th 2010


15571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

First two Yes albums are the ones I've known much later, compared to the rest of their discog. It was in mid 90's, when I bought the 2 cd set compilation Yesstory wich contains couple of their earliest songs including 'Survival'. It's by far the highlight here, and a good example of the Yes sound to come. My little 3 is hugely based to the fact that I've solely listened intensively to their classic era (from The Yes Album to Relayer) on rrrepeat, almost obsessively, so maybe I lost some objectivity when came the time to rate it.

Very, very good review Nag, mate. Here's a big pos.



SpaceGhost
November 14th 2010


51 Comments


Huh, never even heard of this but I'm a huge fan of Yes so I gotta check this out

Nagrarok
November 14th 2010


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks my fellow progster, and Survival is great indeed.



edit: you should SpaceGhost, if you like their classic era you'll find something to like in this as well.

Jethro42
November 14th 2010


15571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the man who really knows his prog here is Jethro42


I'm honored, dude.



Nagrarok
November 14th 2010


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm honored, dude.




You didn't get that Progressive Rock Authoritah title for nothing.

Jethro42
November 14th 2010


15571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ Xenophanes: Prog rules. We are its agents



You didn't get that Progressive Rock Authoritah title for nothing.


I have no merit. It's not like I went to prog; It's prog that came to me.







Nagrarok
November 14th 2010


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's obvious, because music you love always comes to you.

Jethro42
November 14th 2010


15571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There you go. Hey wait, what's that avatar...Chris Squire with a triple neck guitar... It doesn't go unnoticed!

Nagrarok
November 14th 2010


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Indeed it is. Picking Squire as avatar whilst reviewing Yes seemed a pretty obvious choice. He's the only constant member, after all.

Jethro42
November 14th 2010


15571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, followed by Anderson, as you said in your review. Ironically, in the very beginnings, these two fellas joined to practice some vocal harmonies, and soon Yes was born.

Jethro42
November 14th 2010


15571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, followed by Anderson, as you said in your review. Ironically, in the very beginnings, these two fellas joined to practice some vocal harmonies, and soon Yes was born.

Jethro42
November 14th 2010


15571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hly shit, triple post...my comp is slow, that s why

Nagrarok
November 14th 2010


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And why is that ironic?

Jethro42
November 14th 2010


15571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nothing haha, replace that word by 'thereby'.

Sorry for that messy triple post, my comp gets unreliable these times.



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