Top critical review
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The Word Is Love!!!
on 27 July 2007
Only Yes would have the balls to enter a studio and record with an orchestra for only their second album. The results are interesting.
Some of the material on Time And A Word gives an increasing insight into the future direction of the band. 'Then', 'The Prophet' 'Astral Traveller' and their treatment of Buffalo Springfield's 'Everydays' have the kind of long, complex instrumental passages that would become one of Yes' trademarks. In fact 'Astral Traveller' is almost a precursor to the following album's 'Starship Trooper.
'No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed', 'Sweet Dreams' and the title track are good examples of the band's ability to write short, more accessible pieces to counter the more ambitious efforts, and like the debut, the individual msuicianship on display is quite excellent.
The only real downside on 'Time And A Word' is the orchestral element. It provides more nuisance value, rather than compliment the existing music. In fact, a CD is available (maybe from this website) of BBC sessions from this era of Yes that contains much of the Time And A Word Material, and the difference is staggering. The music flows better and has much more impact when you can hear the individual playing without an orchestra involved.
The use of an orchestra on this album led to guitar player Peter Banks' departure, and I have to say I'm in the Banks camp when it comes to this aspect of the record.
Another downside is the quality of the production on the title track, it's simply awful. For some reason, Peter Banks doesn't get to play guitar on the track so instead of a nice acoustic guitar being played, there's an awful twanging at the start of the track that sounds like a five year old is playing. The live version of the track was always far better. That's the reason for two points dropped. Otherwise, a good album, and a good tongue wetter for what was to follow with the Steve Howe inspired The Yes Album.