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Yes - The Yes Album


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Enter Mr Steve Howe, and the 'holy' trinity of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe and Chris Squire are together for the first time. Drummers would subsequently change, keyboard players would subsequently change. Both Jon Anderson and Steve Howe would leave Yes in years hence, but that's not really relevant to this particular review. One change in line-up, makes this How so I don't know. It wasn't like the previous guitarist was rubbish or anything, he was perfectly good as far as I can tell listening to 'Time And A Word', for example. Maybe Steve Howe just 'fitted' better Anyway, this album opens with 'Yours Is No Disgrace' and it becomes immediately apparent that everything has changed. Well, no. We still have Jon Anderson vocals and lyrics. We still have those distinctive Chris Squire bass lines. We also have a genuinely fantastic song, nearly ten minutes long this 'Yours Is No Disgrace', by the way. I just love the pants off it. The guitar riffing, the bass - meaty and bouncy, fast and impressive. The sheer energy and melody of the entire piece. The tightness of the playing, and yeah, the showing off. Lots of stupendous guitar parts, both bass and lead. The drums and keyboards play their part perfectly, the song is joyous and exhilarating Prog/Rock guitar art..... whatever. Difficult thing to describe very well. Just listen to it, OK? Right, with that out of the way, I can talk about 'The Clap'. Yes decided allowing a Stewe Howe solo guitar piece, recorded live, onto this record was a good idea. I must admit, it's good fun listening, it makes me smile - even if at the end of the day it's completely pointless. I did say it was fun though, didn't I? Good. Besides, it fits on the album, because it breaks up two nine minute compositions.

The second nine minute composition is 'Starship Trooper', and look! It's another fantastic song! Lots of melody, lots of Jon Anderson vocal melodies and the supporting 'cast' do their job admirably. That will insult them all, calling them a supporting cast to Jon Anderson, especially considering the fact that the guitar is great, the drums from Bill Bruford and the bass are both perfectly great! Yes sound together, actually, and must have LIKED their new guitar player, because he's given plenty of freedom within the ensemble playing. 'Ive Seen All You Good People' to my ears if edited down to four minutes or so would have made an absolutely fantastic pop single. I'd have bought it. Pounding drums, vocal harmonies, perfect melodic changes, heavenly vocal melodies. The second half of the song goes all guitar heavy but retaining the main vocal hook. It's all good. 'A Venture' and 'Perpetual Change' are slightly less enjoyable for me personally than the three main highpoints on the album so far. Having said that, 'A Venture' is bouncy bass rhythms, almost a three minute long pop song and clearly following on from the previous Yes album, but for the lack of a string section. And, adding increased Yes confidence and playing cohesion. 'Perpetual Change' is another track bordering on the nine minute mark, another well played song full of melody, if this time descending into a mellow, almost jazzy section in the middle of the song that means this song doesn't quite shine as magically as others here. Still good though. This album is just supremely listenable and hugely enjoyable, and music should always be both of those things, if it can be, whilst always offering up a measure of thought provoking depth!

Yours Is No Disgrace
The Clap
Starship Trooper
I've Seen All You Good People
A Venture
Perpetual Change

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