The Yes Album features so many firsts. It was the first to establish the incredible Yes sound. It was the first to include much longer compositions with varying instrumental movements like classical pieces. It was the first to present us with the unique guitar work of Steve Howe. It was the first to declare their prominence on the Progressive Rock circuit, although it was not called that at the time. I think the term then was Art-Rock, and this is definitely a work of “art.”
From the opening salvo of “Yours Is No Disgrace,” we understand why the addition of Howe was so important. He brings much to the Yes sound. At almost ten minutes long, this is a master class of what prog means. “Perpetual Change,” ”I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Starship Trooper” are all considered classics as well and are still part of Yes’ setlist even today, over thirty years later!
The Yes Album is such a quantum leap over the two records that precede it, you must wonder what was happening at the time to help them make this jump? Several bands at this time were making this transition to complex themes and instrumentation, what was in the water they were drinking? Hmmm… Better to leave that train of thought alone. It was the late 60/early 70s after all.
This record is a masterpiece. The band certainly thought highly of it, as they featured almost the entire record on their groundbreaking live recording, “Yessongs.” The Yes Album began the trilogy that also includes Close to the Edge and Fragile. All three considered to be the finest examples in the Yes catalog.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on March 25th, 2011