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Flash

Psychosync

Review by G. W. Hill

When Peter Banks left Yes, he formed the band Flash. The group, rightly so, sounded quite a bit like early Yes. Still, they did have their own identity. After releasing three albums in the early ‘70’s the group fell apart. However, in the course of those three discs, they created some quite intriguing prog. Psychosync is a compilation of live performances by the group. With liner notes from Banks, it makes a nice addition to the collection.

The performances on this disc are quite creative and full of virtuosity. The only real complaint about this collection is that the production is rather weak in places. Still, for a historical record of the live performances of this group, it can be overlooked. The lineup on the disc is Banks, Colin Carter, Ray Bennett and Michael Hough.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Small Beginnings
With trademark Peter Banks riffing bringing this cut up, it transforms into a fast paced prog jam that really feels a lot like early Yes. The vocals here are just a bit harsh, mostly in the production, but this is a very early live recording. The song has lots of dynamic changes, dropping to slower modes and fast arpegiatted riffing. Trying to keep up with all the myriad of changes here could be a daunting task. So, rather than stress out, kick back, relax, and let it happen. The cut will amaze, entertain and surprise even those who are familiar with the studio version.
Room With A View
Quirky fusion oriented Crimsonish riffing begins this cut, then a drum solo takes over. A completely different fast paced riff, with slower accents that are almost bluesish, takes over for a time. Then, the cut shifts gear again to a slower melodic segment and all these sections alternate for a time before it drops to a more sedate movement, much in the mode of early Yes. This section continues for a time, broken by bursts of unusual fast paced jamming. Then Crimsonish textures return. It drops back to the verse segment, then a new jam with a great groove and progish tendencies ensues. The cut then slows down and a mellower mode ends the song.
Children of the Universe
Frantic riffing again begins this cut, then a very Yesish chord progression takes the piece. This one is a very catchy prog number that really rocks. It has always been my favorite song by the band. It still has the fast paced riffing that the y really did so well, and plenty of progness, but it is much more accessible than some of their catalog. All in all, a killer prog song, this one seems to be strong inspiration for bands like Pentwater. It actually drops to a jam a bit in the vein of Yes’ “Perpetual Change”, and really leaves this reviewer wondering how much of the The Yes Album was written before Banks’ departure.
Dreams of Heaven
Beginning with a hard edged, chaotic prog flourish, the cut then drops to near silence. Processed, echoey guitar takes us out of the quiet time. Then more melodic, sedate picking takes over from there, gradually building in almost early Genesisish modes. The cut starts to take on a more definite rock groove, building more. It then drops to a considerably Sabbathesque metal mode. Fast paced prog with jazz element pull the cut out of this dark segment in fine form, building into a strong quick moving jam, again a bit like early Yes, but even more adventurous. It then drops to more quirky jamming, even running into some familiar late 19th century southern territory. Then off to an echoey section that feels a lot like old Rush. Next, over ten minutes in, the composition switches to a more song oriented style and vocals enter. This segment, good melodic prog, takes the piece as the first consistent segment we have heard. Then a short Yesish break takes over leading into another different Yes oriented instrumental segment. The song goes back into verse oriented territory, this time with a more hard edged, almost metallic style. Then a killer instrumental break with a great solo ensues to take the piece to its conclusion.
Dead Head
A playful mode starts this cut, and runs for a short time. Then more dramatic prog tones take over with the trademark frantic riffing definitely showing up. This section then drops to a solid prog rock melody. The vocals here are the strongest on the disc. This mode makes up the remainder of the tune.
Psychosync
Frantic fusionish jamming begins this one, and continues as the song builds, moving into new melodies, but within the same style. This one is another that is very dynamic, jumping from point “a” to point “g” in the course of one measure. After a time, the cut evolves into a great groove with a killer guitar solo that really soars at times.
 
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