Indeed, at the time the London music scene was abuzz with an endless store of “progressive” rock sounds; a development primarily motivated (like all things) by the Beatles‘ remarkable evolutionary pace, but accelerated, of late, by the arrival of exciting new groups with new perspectives, like Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Procol Harum, to name but a few. It was out of this fertile primordial prog-rock soup, if you will, that Yes members Jon Anderson (vocals), Peter Banks (guitar), Tony Kaye (keyboards), Chris Squire (bass) and Bill Bruford (drums) took their first tentative steps via their debut’s eight, simultaneously formative but promising songs.
Having witnessed King Crimson — then the high point for art-rock invention – in concert a few months earlier, Yes brought a daring virtuosity and vigorous attack to both their original material (see the nearly proto-metal plod of ‘Beyond & Before’ and the endlessly shifting, widescreen ‘Survival’) and no doubt record-label appeasing covers of the Byrds‘ ‘I See You’ and the Beatles’ ‘Every Little Thing’ (both of them utterly transformed with jazz breakouts and frantic improvisations until the mere shells of the originals remained). By contrast, Anderson’s ‘Yesterday and Today’ and his first collaboration with Squire, ‘Sweetness,’ offered gentle respites and wistful balladry, while precociously well-rounded numbers, ‘Looking Around’ and ‘Harold Land’ introduced future Yes hallmarks like Anderson’s and Squire’s trademarked vocal harmonies and the latter’s forceful bass inspired by his hero, the Who‘s John Entwistle).
CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO