10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A BRAVE EFFORT.,
This review is from: Time And A Word [Expanded & Remastered] (Audio CD)
OK, we know that, with this, their 2nd album, Yes had not yet established their trademark sound. However, in a way, I prefer it to their later work, simply because it presents a far clearer concept than on subsequent releases, where the group disappears into the stratospheric realms. All very exciting, of course, but I wonder how many fans honestly relate to - or even understand - lyrics such as: "my eyes convinced eclipsed with the younger moon attained with love" (TOTAL MASS RETAIN) or "charged only for a sight of sound the space agreed between the picture of time behind the face of need" (AND YOU & I). "The time is now & the word is love," on the other hand, is as rich & relevant an idea today as ever & each track offers a different perspective on the theme. Track-by-track analysis:
NO OPPORTUNITY NECESSARY, NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED - "Step out in the night when you're lonely." A great opening line, it poses the question, 'will you accept the challenge of life, or just lie down & die?' Yes's very future was in doubt at this point, so the song had a particular relevance to their situation. (Note: The 'Big Country' extract has provoked criticism over the years, but I think it's great).
THEN - "Love is the only answer, hate is the root of cancer...there's only us who can change it.." Again, we are being urged to respond positively, to make things happen.
EVERYDAYS - Sheer tedium, the reality of so many people's lives - "every day's a-killing time" - is emphasised by the lazy, lethargic arrangement of this Stephen Stills song, until the sudden burst of dynamic energy midway through jolts the listener awake, to show how exciting life COULD be. Tremendous.
SWEET DREAMS - Joy, sorrow, tedium or excitement apart, dreams live on, regardless, as they're "born to last." A (non-hit) single.
THE PROPHET - A touch of philosophy. "Searching for the truth to life, seeing things in different lights...have made him more alive." Continuing the theme of personal development & fulfilment.
CLEAR DAYS - "On a clear day, we'll all be together.." Glimpsing Nirvana.
ASTRAL TRAVELLER - Correctly identified as the precursor of STARSHIP TROOPER, etc. Pretty good in its own right, though. Now we have blast-off...
TIME & A WORD - Still a firm favourite - & concert-closer - this sums up the general theme very well.
Overall, I would describe this album as a brave effort, from a band on the verge of stardom & brimming with the confidence & youthful enthusiasm one would expect. They overstretch themselves at times, trying too hard to impress, but, at others, they blitz the senses through sheer bravado.
Non-Yes fans, especially those with a 'psychedelic' persuasion, may find this more accessible than the group's later output.
Finally, much has been made of the orchestration. Does it work? I think so - anyway, having lived with the album for 40 years now, I cannot imagine it not being there. (The 4 bonus tracks are worth having, though unexceptional).