Sound — 9
People often overlook this band's early albums in favor of the more mainstream ones such as "The Yes Album" and "Fragile". Yes has a lot to offer musically, even in their infancy. The line-up started out a bit different. Instead of the guitar god Steve Howe, you have Pete Banks. He takes less chances in his playing. The same could be said about Tony Kaye, the bands original keyboardist. While the music may not be as dynamic or as progressive as their later outings, it's still a delight to listen to. Jon Anderson's voice resonates through every verse and chorus he sings. I truly believe he is one of the best singers in rock. Tony Kaye's raw and heartfelt keyboarding sends chills down my spines every chord he slams. Bill Bruford and Chris Squire both show their technical prowess and make this album explosive. The album features two covers, both that are executed greatly and surpass the originals. Every single track on this album is killer. It opens with an enthusiastic and moving song called "Beyond And Before". Yes continues to get more interesting as the tracks play on. "Looking Around" has been known to get caught in my head at the most random times possible. As I said earlier, the two covers are phenomenal. The second one is a Beatles cover. They transform "Every Little Thing" from a simple pop rock song to a prog masterpiece. The album closes with a stellar track called "Survival". The wah-filled bassy riff is one of Yes' best.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics aren't as mature as future Yes albums. Topics range from war to love. "Beyond And Before" has some of the best lyrics on the album. A lot of the other songs are about love. Love has always been a neglected topic in progressive rock. It is a bit awkward that all this intricate music is being paired up with this subject matter. But you have to realize that Yes probably did this to break into the mainstream. I don't blame them one bit. Jon Anderson could be singing names from a phone book and I would still be astonished. This man is a gentle man who can deliver vocally with his angelically tenor voice.
Overall Impression — 8
You would be doing yourself a big disservice by not checking this album out. This is one of the greatest debut albums I have ever listened to. All of the elements of classic Yes are featured, albeit not to the epic proportions in later albums. There is not much bad to say about this album. The album art (on both the European and US versions) is bit boring. Yes is known for their fantastical artwork. Still a quality album nonetheless. You'll be giving this album more than just a few spins. It's grand.