Release Date: 1972

Track Listing
1)  Small Beginnigs
2)  Morning Haze
3)  Children of the Universe
4)  Dreams of Heaven
5)  The Time It Takes

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Member: Constable Napweed
Date: 11/6/2001

OF MICE AND MOULD - A Flash review

It was 1973 and this 14 year old Yes fan was in the record shop most favoured by rock fans...The sadly defunct "Sounds" It was one of those shops that had a smell of mould and maybe a few mice running through smart clean cutness here...which only proved to be endearing to me. I was flicking through the sale section and came across this odd looking album cover...a ladies leg clad in the most unsexy knickers ever. Being the bleedin, little perv I was I took it out of the rack for inspection.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that the line up included Tony Kaye (my hero at the time for his aggressive Hammond sound) and Peter Banks. I shelled out the 75 pence for it and made my way to the bus stop in a fever. Each time the bus had to stop was sheer torture...I mean I wanna get home and listen to this album. When I finally put the needle in the groove (gasp at last) I was mesmerised by the music.

Flash had all of the light and shade of "Yes" but was punchier due to Peter Banks more solid approach to the lead guitar. "Small Beginnings" kicked the whole thing off in impressive style and stayed that way right through to the delicate pastel shades of "The Time it Takes" Sadly Flash were only to be a fleeting band who released two more albums (non of which I have ever come across) Flash in the Can and another that apparently seemed to be a concept about different chess pieces. A fondly remembered band of great songs, great arrangements and a sense of fun in some places.

All the best
The Constable
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Member: Burgess Penguin (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Burgess Penguin)
Date: 6/6/2003
Format: CD (Album)

After being dumped from Yes, guitarist Peter Banks had tried a number of creative ventures, including a short stint with Blodwyn Pig. After this didn't pan out as he hoped, fate intervened and Flash came into being. Peter one day got a call from vocalist Colin Carter wanting to form a new band. Pete and Colin set about writing new songs together and soon landed a publishing deal for "Small Beginnings" which would later be the lead off track of the first Flash album. Bassist Ray Bennett entered the picture a short while later (just having returned to Britain after living in the US for a while), on a recommendation from an old friend, Bill Bruford! Ray bought to the proceedings a batch of his own material that eventually wound up in the Flash repetoire. After a lengthy process of auditioning drummers, Mike Hough came into the fold. The keyboard slot still needed a pair of capable hands, but still was not filled. Among those who were considered were Ian MacDonald (of King Crimson), and Rick Wakeman (not too much later, snatched up by Yes). Patrick Moraz approached them at an early gig, wanting to play with them, but was rebuffed at the time, a decision the band later regretted. Tony Kaye was bought in to do the first album, though he was never an official member of Flash (preferring instead to concentrate on his own group Badger then doing studio work and touring with David Bowie among others). They were signed to Capitol records and work began on their debut album in November of 1971. The first recorded effort, simply entitled Flash, was released in 1972. What came out of the grooves was wonderful to say the least! Instrumentally, you had Peter's unpredictable, twisty guitar now in the forefront (artfully combining Barney Kessel and Pete Townsend), combined with a rhythm section that was a bit heavier and rockier than Yes at the time, plus very tasteful, understated keyboards (mostly Hammond organ) from Tony Kaye. Vocally, there was Colin Carter's thick, almost Roger Daltrey-esque style (and appearance), combined with gorgeous harmony from Ray Bennett and occasionally Peter. The songs were lengthier, and yet, had a definite flow to them, like the sections belonged together, not just cut-and-paste. The album gets off to a great start with "Small Beginnings" (which actually was a minor hit on the Billboard charts in the U.S.), and definitely captures the essence of Flash beautifully in one song! It swings, it rocks, it peels paint, and it takes one on quite a flight! From there, it gets even better. A folky romp like "Morning Haze" (with Ray doing a gorgeous lead vocal), gives way to "Children of the Universe", on which the band again pulls out all the stops. Check out how Peter uses the melody of "Eleanor Rigby" as a launching point for his solo. The ending of the song is quite comical. Just when you've caught your wind, you get bowled over by the raging, anarchic introduction to "Dreams of Heaven". After a mournful classical guitar interlude from Pete, the band kicks in full tilt, and takes the listener on a wild ride through plaintive rock, a warp speed be-bop section, some tricky odd-meter vocalizing and a ferocious ending. The album concludes on a somber, reflective note in "The Time It Takes", a beautifully written ballad in which the protagonist stops and reflects on life's complexity and interconnectedness. I like how Tony Kaye punctuated the mood of the song with some high, lonesome sounding organ. Close your eyes and you darn near feel that you're sitting on a beach somewhere at sunset sharing the thoughts of the singer.
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