Peter Banks
Two Sides of Peter Banks


4.0
excellent

Review

by e210013 USER (93 Reviews)
May 21st, 2018 | 16 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is an album with a great side and a not so great side. But overall, and after all these years, it still remains a very impressive album to me.

“Two Sides Of Peter Banks” is the debut solo studio album of Peter Banks and was released in 1973. The line up on the album is Peter Banks, Jan Akkerman, Steve Hackett, John Wetton, Ray Bennett, Phil Collins and Mike Hough.


Banks is, of course, best known as the guy who played guitar on Yes before Steve Howe came into the fold. But, those who only see that part of the picture, though, are missing out on quite a lot. Banks first got his start with Yes’ bassist Chris Squire in the group the Syn. After that, Banks and Squire moved to their next group Mabel Greer’s Toy Shop. Banks left them when Jon Anderson was starting to become a presence on the scene. But, he hooked back up with Squire and Anderson. Then, they had added Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford to the line up and thus, Yes was born. After leaving Yes he formed the band Flash who released three albums before breaking up in 1973. Later in the same year he released this self titled solo album. With it, Banks showed clearly that he had the potential to become an interesting progressive rock solo artist, but strangely, instead of that he chose to disappear from the scene for the rest of the 70’s.

The first thing that jumps out about this album is the impressive list of contributors. Mind you, their contributions are relatively limited, but this confluence of mega stars from the world of 70’s prog rock has to make a fan take notice at least. Their presence reinforces the notion that, at the time, Banks was viewed as a giant in this kind of music, somebody who could draw talent to come work with him, and somebody whose post-Yes contributions require more examination than they might otherwise get. It’s not usual that artists like Hackett (who appears on one track), Collins (who contributes with a lot on drums), Wetton (who appears on the same track as Hackett) and Akkerman (who includes the writing credit for “Beyond The Lonelist Sea” and a three minute number which alternates between moody droning keyboards and guitars that mix acoustic work with quiet sustained electric notes), appear together in the same album.

This is definitely a prog rock album, but it’s much closer to a cross between early Yes and the impending “Larks” era of King Crimson than to the contemporary Yes’ works. It’s entirely instrumental and not at all song based, and its primary purpose seems to be to allow Banks to work in as many of his favoured approaches to guitar playing as he could. This means that album gets a little jammy and rambling in parts and my attention sometimes drifts. But it’s still is a rather enjoyable listen on the whole. While this album isn’t exactly any sort of lost classic, this is definitely a cut above average as far as some Yes’ related solo albums go, and it’s worth hearing. As long as you go, in with proper expectations and don’t expect anything on par with the first Yes’ albums, let alone anything from later. So, you should enjoy this if you’re the type who likes Yes enough to seek out all the Yes’ related material you can find, as I am.

Side one of the album could very well be the best thing Banks ever did after leaving Yes. It’s a bunch of continuously flowing compositions with themes like kings, battles and knights that create a conceptual piece of instrumental guitar based progressive rock with an impressive range of different moods. It starts with a tender and atmospheric opening played on a single electric guitar, undoubtedly by Akkerman, whose guitar style is perfectly unmistakable. From there it goes through rural acoustic duets, heavy riffs, moody improvisations and some jazzy jams. Banks himself also adds some tasty Moog to the sound and one of the main themes is actually played on that instrument. The second side is compositionally less convincing, but it’s still not bad. It starts with “Beyond The Loneliest Sea” that consists of lots of Spanish guitar above Akkerman’s trademark sounds, along with some simplistic chords on piano by Banks. The nearly 14 minute jam “Stop That!” features lots of battles between Banks and Akkerman. However, Akkerman proves, not surprisingly, to be the technically most accomplished of the two, wrenching out lots of fast and virtuoso solos, while Banks most of the time prefers to churn out his typical jazzy chords. “Get Out Of My Fridge” opens with some muscular bass lines, but turns quickly into a jam that sounds quite a lot like the previous one, although 10 minutes shorter.


Conclusion: This album is more a collaboration between Banks and Akkerman than a true solo album. Akkerman has co-write credits on most of the tracks and even a full credit for the acoustic guitar ballad “Beyond The Loneliest Sea”. The interaction of the two guitarists is what really makes this album stand out for me, they’re both good on their own, and they’re great together. It’s a shame that Banks hasn’t really gotten his full recognition as an outstanding guitarist in his own right. This album certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, as a solo guitar album. Listening to this, I’m reminded of that seemingly long gone era of guitarists, who didn’t need to rely at all on a cadre of effect boxes or studio trickery, but had a command of the instrument that can only be had by playing and playing and playing. It’s really a great album.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (6)
Chart.
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
May 21st 2018


1983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

When we think on the guitarist of Yes, the name that immediately occurs in our minds is inevitably Steve Howe. However, as many of we know, the original guitarist of the band wasn't Howe but Peter Banks. Banks participated on the two first albums of Yes, "Yes" and "Time And A Word", before he was fired from the band. But, beyond his name be more associated with Yes, he was the original guitarist of other bands and had a solo career too.

So, my journey through the world of Yes would be incomplete without review an album of his solo career. And naturally and innevitably, I chose their debut solo album, "Two Sides Of Peter Banks", which is considered his best solo release.

As happened with the solo album of Anderson "Olias Of Suhillow", "Two Sides Of Peter Banks" already deserved a review here on Sputnik too.

Jethro42
May 21st 2018


15390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love the interplay between Akkerman and Banks on here. Side one is very compelling and is more structured than side two, which is more like a bluesy/jazzy jam section that is running out of steam in too many places, but it has its moments. On the other hand, side one is nearly perfect and offers a beautiful contrast between brillant King Crimsonesque passages and soothing atmospheres created by the guitars. Overall, it's a warm performance and so it's a good summer album imo.

Very well written review, dude. It needed a good one, so thank you! Hope it will get some more votes.

e210013
May 21st 2018


1983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Jethro.

I know you like the album. I think we talk about it once, when I rated the album, as I can remember. And I also know that you expected this album was covered and I think you had some great expectations about the possible review about it. So, I'm very glad you liked my review. That is even more important to me, because I'm convinced that Diva was interested to review this album, too. However, as I mentioned that it would be one of the albums to be reviewd by me on the prog journey of Yes, I think he gave up because of that. And I konw that we both like very much of his reviews.

Yeah, as you, I also hoped to have more comments on this review, in this moment. Especially, because the eponymous debut album of Flash was one of the knights which was brought to us in the prog tournament of Friday, on the last year, precisely by Diva. Besides, I always expected that Banks had more admirers on Sputnik. Surely he deserved that.

Once more, thanks and cheers, bro.

TheIntruder
May 22nd 2018


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice to see this album finally reviewed on Sputnik. It almost escaped me. I'll read your review later.

e210013
May 22nd 2018


1983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great Intruder. I'm very glad that you was one of the guys who noticed my review. Nice. Read it and tell me something later.

TheIntruder
May 23rd 2018


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review e21. I agree with Jethro. This album deserves a great one. After a couple of spins I am on it. I will rate it later. Meanwhile have a great pos.

e210013
May 23rd 2018


1983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Intruder. Since it seems you like the album too, I'm very curious about your rating.

TheIntruder
May 28th 2018


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sorry, man. Only now I rated the album. It is a great album, but not well balanced between two sides. First is better than second. So, only 3.5.

e210013
May 28th 2018


1983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No problem, Intruder. You're right. Side one is better than side two. Me and Jethro think the same. Still, we both consider this album is worth, especilly due to the great interplay between both guitarists, Banks and Akkerman.

Anyway, thanks for your comment and because you rated the album too. It's nice to see another rating to this album. It deserves that.

TheIntruder
May 28th 2018


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It was a pleasure, but I expected more comments and ratings of the album, really. Didn't you?

e210013
May 28th 2018


1983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Me too, indeed. But I'm used to this things already. Still, I expected more comments, especially of some other prog members, because I think this is an album that can interest many other prog heads. But, perhaps the prog community is busy, who knows?. But the most important is this album deserved a review, and finaly it have it.

By the way, are going to participate in the next Friday's prog tournament?

TheIntruder
May 28th 2018


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I know. Friday told me that. It seems it begins today. I hope participate as the last year, as an outsider.

e210013
May 28th 2018


1983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice. But why not as a competitor?. It will be a great experience, I can assure you that.

TheIntruder
May 28th 2018


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I would like but my studies of Computer Sciences not allow me to do that.

e210013
May 28th 2018


1983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, I see. Ok, no problem. Nice studies, dude. Meanwhile we'll see on the tournament. Cheers with your studies.

TheIntruder
May 28th 2018


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, pal.



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