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Yes – Time And A Word (1970) review

February 4, 2014

Yes – Time And A Word (1970) review

Yes “Time And A Word” (Music On Vinyl, 1970/2014) 
By the time of Yes’s second LP for the Atlantic label,
1970’s Time And A Word, it’s fair to say that the group had pretty much left
behind most of the trappings left over from the psychedelic realm that had, at
least, partly informed their eponymous debut. In its place comes the
application of a more deliberate and conscious striving towards a purer
distillation of their collective influences. Time And A Word is the sound of
the group fusing all those influences together into a fresh chapter; a
successful melange of new ideas to feed into their always forward-thinking
programme.
They flirt with some classical-style themes, and unashamedly
wedge a few passages of orchestral highbrow into one or two of the selections
yet it never sounds verbose or too over-the-top. Peter Banks’ lead playing
continues to be an adventurous proposal and it’s his dynamically fluent style
of playing, alongside the elegant creativity of keyboardist Tony Kaye which
permeates much of what’s on offer here, from the skittering progressive rock
treatment of Richie Havens’ ‘No Opportunity Neccessary, No Experience Needed’
to the gentler, more reflective vistas pointed towards by the likes of ‘Clear
Days’. There’s also the teasingly funky Hammond shuffle of ‘Sweet Dreams’ – a
minor hit single when issued at the time. 
Now and again the group makes one or two threatening moves towards
self-indulgence but, thankfully, the songs are always rescued in time from any
barriers of elongated pomposity.
With Bill Bruford giving expert percussive direction, and
exerting extra power whenever required, and Chris Squire’s bass lines bouncing
and zooming across the aural spectrum with distorted, melodic grace (and
seemingly relative ease) you know that, rhythmically speaking, the songs are
also in good, safe hands. Vocalist / lyricist Jon Anderson’s idiosyncratic turn
of phrase and soaring capability – going from keening bird on high to fragile
(almost) cracked whisper – comes  through
strongest on what I believe is the set’s true masterpiece, the thundering
‘Astral Traveller’ – itself an effective distillation of the full panoramic Yes
sound! It’s also worth pointing out that on this latest re-release via Music on
Vinyl, never has the booming, resounding atmosphere of such as ‘Astral
Traveller’ sounded so sharp and impressive.
Moreover, what is most significant and glaringly apparent
throughout Time And A Word, is the already hugely cinematic nature of Yes’
music, and the way, as individual facilitators, or as a group, they can slowly
(or swiftly) and deliberately pan from one scene to the next, throwing us, the
listeners, headlong into another of their thoroughly absorbing episodes, all
within the blink of an eye. Just like a good film director, Yes too seem to
always be ready to change tack and skirt off down one or two unexpected
avenues.
Review made by Lenny Helsing/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
One Comment
  1. Dale

    Time And A Word is easily the most underrated Yes album. It (and the debut) appeal to me more and more as the years go by. Something about them as a hungry young group searching for their style gets me now. When I was a young fan,my attitude toward the early Yes was the predictable,"They're OK but nowhere near the later albums." Now in my fifties,the first two Yes records are my favorites.

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