Flash - Flash

Year of Release: 1994
Label: One Way Records
Catalog Number: S21-17796
Format: CD
Total Time: 41:35:00

If you like Yes's early sound, then you'll surely go bonkers over Flash, because there is no other band on the planet that better had that Yes sound down. That Flash should sound so much like early Yes is no surprise when you realize that two members of the band -- Peter Banks and Tony Kaye -- were members of the original Yes lineup.

The story goes like this: Sometime after the recording of Yes's second album, A Time And A Word, Peter Banks left Yes and was immediately replaced by the now legendary Steve Howe. (This fast switcheroo is why, although Peter Banks played on the A Time And A Word album, Steve Howe's picture is on the cover. Another prog mystery solved!) After recording The Yes Album, keyboardist Tony Kaye was unhappy with the band's direction (it's been said that the other members of Yes wanted Kaye to experiment with more electronics, while Kaye was perfectly happy with his Hammond organ, thank you very much) and so he left the band, too. Peter Banks and Tony Kaye teamed up, and Flash was born. The Banks/Kaye partnership was to last only one album, though, after which Kaye quit Flash to form the band Badger. Banks and Flash went on to record two other studio albums, but each was a step further in the wrong direction, although each had its moments.

The first Flash album, however, is a great piece of 70s style prog rock, featuring long compositions, lots of guitar and keyboard flash (hmmmm), and complex Yes-like arrangements. The first track, "Small Beginnings," which clocks in at almost 10 minutes, is very reminiscent of the Yes composition "Yours Is No Disgrace," starting with a speedy, trademark guitar riff and featuring some hot organ playing by Kaye. The high-octane verses give way to the requisite prog changes, including a mellow centerpiece, before roaring back into gear for a final verse. If it wasn't for the vocalist -- who sounds nothing like Jon Anderson -- you would swear this cut was performed by Yes itself. Great stuff!

The album includes a couple of less Yes-like tracks, such as the acoustic "Morning Haze" (nice background harmonies on this one) and "The Time It Takes" (a relaxing closer for the album). Still, tracks like the nine-minute "Children of the Universe" and the 13-minute "Dreams of Heaven" feature plenty of those cool unison guitar and keyboard riffs, as well as happy, infectious, bouncy beats and arrangements that tread back deep into Yes territory. On these other long tracks, you'll hear jazzy, cooking guitar interludes that sound very much like Banks' style on the first Yes album. Kaye's piano comping in these sections is outstanding. Kaye was (and is) such a talented player, one has to wonder why he has always been content to stay in the background.

Bottom line: No fan of Yes can be without at least the first Flash album. For all intents and purposes, this is Yes circa 1969-70. You may ask yourself, though, how such a great album ended up with such a terrible cover.

Originally released by Capitol (11040) in 1972

Small Beginnings (9:23) / Morning Haze (4:32) / Children Of The Universe (8:55) / Dreams Of Heaven (12:57) / The Time It Takes (5:48)

Peter Banks - guitars, synthesizer, backing vocals
Tony Kaye - organ, piano, synthesizer
Colin Carter - lead vocals, percussion
Mike Hough - drums
Ray Bennet - bass, rhythm guitar, vocals

Flash (1972)
In The Can (1972)
Out Of Our Hands (1973)
Psychosync (1997)

Genre: Symphonic Prog


Added: January 1st 2001
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum

Artist website:
Hits: 800
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]