Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Flash - In The Can (1972 uk, delicate progressive rock, 2010 japan SHM double disc remaster)

While listening to the first notes of Lifetime, the opening tune from In The Can (1972) the second album of the British band Flash, I realized that this was the first time since the seventies that I listened to a Flash-album. The band made three albums altogether. They’d released their eponymous debut album earlier in 1972. The third one, Out Of Our Hands, was released in 1973. Not only the music on these albums was exceptional; the album covers caught the eye as well featuring titillating sexy body parts of women. 

Nowadays, not so many prog heads know that Peter Banks, the original guitarist of Yes, was one of the founding members of Flash and he was predominantly responsible for the band’s sound. After two albums with Yes: Yes (1969) and Time And A Word (1970), he was forced to leave the band to make room for Steve Howe whom the band thought to be a better musician. Besides, on the eponymous debut album of Flash we discover another ex-member of Yes. Tony Kaye played the keyboards, but left the band to tour with David Bowie, whereupon he started his own band Badger.

If you listen to Lifetime, the first track of In The Can, you can without doubt hear the typical Yes-sound. This song even features guitar parts that might have been taken from Yours Is No Disgrace, a song from The Yes Album (1971) that Yes made after Banks had left and Howe had joined. On this second Flash-album Ray Bennett plays the Rickenbacker-bass just like Chris Squire did in Yes. And just like Chris he also had a leading role in the music performed. The high-pitched vocals of Jon Anderson have been imitated by lead singer Colin Carter in a way. 

Together with Ray Bennett he also sang the harmony vocals similarly as we can hear on the many albums released by Yes. On this album the keyboards don’t have a prominent role; occasionally we hear some synthesizers played by Mr. Banks. It has to be said that I didn’t miss the keyboards that much; the songs are strong enough to enjoy without them. Even the short drum solo by Michael Hough at the beginning of Stop The Banging gets my approval although, in general, I don’t like drum solos. The A- and B-side of a single released in 1973 add some extra time compared to the original release. The single is a shorter version of Lifetime plus the song Watch Your Step on the flip side. The latter has a nice and poppy tune and sounds in fact radio-friendlier than the A-side.
by Henri Strik 
1. Lifetime (Colin Carter) - 10:07
2. Monday Morning Eyes (Ray Bennett) - 5:11
3. Black And White (Peter Banks, Ray Bennett) - 12:03
4. Stop That Banging (Mike Hough) - 1:58
5. There No More (Ray Bennett) - 11:30
6. Watch Your Step (Ray Bennett) - 2:47
7. Lifetime (Single Version) (Colin Carter) - 2:59

*Peter Banks - Lead Guitar, ARP Synth, Vocals
*Ray Bennett - Bass, Vocals
*Colin Carter - Lead Vocals
*Mike Hough - Drums, Percussion

1972  Flash - Flash (2010 Japan SHM)

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Flash - Flash (1972 uk, elegant progressive rock, 2010 japan SHM double disc remaster)

After Peter Banks found himself replaced in Yes by Steve Howe, he set his sights on creating a new band. That band was Flash. The group formed in 1971 when Banks recruited longtime associate Ray Bennett (Gun) along with Colin Carter (Pete Bardens' Camel) and Mike Hough. Original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye rounded out the group. 

Flash had a sound that felt a lot like that of Yes on its first two albums, but perhaps with a more pop-oriented texture. The group also had a more free-form approach to its virtuosic jamming, seeming to prefer improvisation to well-charted music. Flash's first album, a self-titled one, was released the following year. Kaye did not stay around very long past that release. Rather than replace him, the group carried on as a four-piece. They released two more albums, In the Can and Out of Our Hands in 1973. 
by Gary Hill
1. Small Beginnings - 9:21
2. Morning Haze - 4:36
3. Children Of The Universe - 8:57
4. Dreams Of Heaven - 12:54
5. The Time It Takes - 5:45
6. Small Beginnings (Single Version) - 3:11
All songs by Flash
*Peter Banks - Acoustic, Electric, Spanish Guitars, Hooter, ARP Synth, Backing Vocals
*Ray Bennett - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Colin Carter - Vocals, Percussion
*Mike Hough - Drums, Percussion, Cymbals, Badinage
*Tony Kaye - Organ, Piano, ARP Synthesizer

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