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Pill Review: Time And A Word (Yes, 1969) 24 October 2007

Posted by Basilios in In Pills, Music Reviews, Yes.
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A few months after Yes released its self-titled first album, they released their second, and it was something completely different. Peter Banks’ guitar, so prominent in the older album, remains unnoticed in the background, barely audible, and smothered by layers of orchestration. And was that a bad thing?

I’m actually quite conflicted about it. Banks was good, better than his detractors would make him, yet the orchestration here is quite decent and merges well with the rock songs. The first of which is a well rocking start, it’s a cover of Richie Haven‘s No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed, and I think it’s great. But the other songs are also quite good, like the poppy Then with its vaguely nonsensical lyrics, Astral Traveller, that sounds quite sci-fi, and the closing Time And A Word, an attempt to sound like a certain kind of Beatles song (Hey Jude comes to mind), but played in an unmistakable Yes style.

As for what I don’t like here, I’d have to say very little. I’m not overly fond of The Prophet, as good as it sounds, because it’s a bit too meandering, and I find that the cover of Stephen Stills’ Everydays is just not their kind of thing anymore. Clear Days leaves me quite indifferent – it’s pretty, and it’s about love, and that’s a rare couple of qualities in a Yes song, but I dunno, it doesn’t feel like it’s going somewhere.

I also mentioned the way the sound of the guitar is choked. It’s a pity, because they took a decent, but not great, guitar sound, and hid it behind a decent, but certainly not excellent, orchestration, and I feel putting both on was a bit of a waste. The other musicians, however, have no problem emerging from the mix, even if sometimes this album sounds like Jon Anderson And His Magnificent Orchestra.

In conclusion, quite a good album, and not just more of what was in the first one, with good songs and good ideas, but wasted talent and a kind of orchestration that, while fine for me, not everyone will agree with.

Final Rating: 25/30

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