Peter Banks cashed in on his association with Yes in this Yes soundalike group, who released three ambitious albums of progressive rock.
A Flash in the pan?
Peter Banks lasted two albums with Yes. Tony Kaye, three. The pair then re-united in a group called Flash that was plainly patterned after the early music of Yes. While the decision to hire a singer, Colin Carter, who had a high-register voice similar to Jon Anderson was likely not a coincidence, Banks’ guitar sound was already established. In other words, if Banks and Steve Howe sounded similar, it was ever so.
After one eponymous album, Kaye declined an offer to join the band (despite the album’s success), and the group continued on as a quartert with drummer Mike Hough and bassist/vocalist Ray Bennett. In The Can was released six months later but failed to match the success of the first album, suggesting that the group’s moment in the sun had faded. Their final album, Out of Our Hands, appeared the following year, at which point tensions within the band caused the group to fold.
The initial reaction to hearing any Flash album is its similarity to early Yes. In fact, it’s tempting to see the group as a parallel line extending from the first Yes album. But if you forget for the moment that Banks was an original member of Yes, it’s easier to hear Flash as a unique and talented progressive rock group with its own personality. The last album in particular, a conceptual work about chess written mostly by Bennett, was very good and deserved an encore, but the band’s name turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, and they were gone in a Flash.
While a reunion wasn’t in the cards, Banks and Bennett did work together again in Banks’ failed Empire. Bennett and Hough also appeared on Banks’ 1973 solo album, Two Sides of Peter Banks, which is strongly recommended to fans of Flash.
Small Beginnings / Morning Haze / Children of the Universe // Dreams of Heaven / The Time It Takes. Released on elpee in May 1972 in the UK (Sovereign, SVNA-7251) and US and Canada (Capitol Sovereign, SMAS-11040) with gatefold cover; reached #33 on the US charts. Re-issued on compact disc in 1994 in the US (One Way, S21-17796). Re-packaged with Out of Our Hands on 2-for-1 compact disc on September 30, 2003 in the US (Friday Records, 1001).
Small Beginnings (1972)
b/w Morning Haze. Released on 7-inch single on May 26, 1972 in the UK (Sovereign, SOV 105), the US (Capitol Sovereign, P-3345), Australia (Sovereign, SOV-9941), Canada (Capitol Sovereign, 3345), Germany (Harvest/Sovereign, 1C 006-93 559), Japan (Odeon, EOR-10109), the Netherlands (Sovereign, 5C 006-93559) and New Zealand (Parlophone, NZP.3431) with regional picture sleeve; reached #29 on the US charts.
IN THE CAN (1972)
Lifetime / Monday Morning Eyes // Black and White / Stop That Banging / There No More. Released on elpee in November 1972 in the UK and Israel (Capitol Sovereign, SVNA 7255) and the US (Capitol, SMAS-11115) with gatefold cover; reached #121 on the US charts. Re-issued on compact disc on August 11, 1993 in the US (One Way, S21 56841).
b/w Children of the Universe. Released on 7-inch single in December 1972 in the US and Canada (Capitol Sovereign, 3496). Also released as promotional 7-inch single in 1972 in the US (Sovereign, P-3496) feat. A mono and stereo versions.
Watch Your Step (1973)
b/w Lifetime. Released on 7-inch single on February 23, 1973 in the UK (Sovereign, SOV 116) and France (Sovereign, 2C 006-94.336) with regional picture sleeve.
OUT OF OUR HANDS (1973)
Open Sky / None the Wiser / Farewell Number One / Man of Honour / Dead Ahead // The Bishop / Psychosync / Manhattan Morning / Shadows. Released on elpee in August 1973 in the US (Capitol, SMAS-11218); reached #135 on the US charts.
Live tracks: Small Beginnings / Room with a View / Dead Ahead / Psychosync // Children of the Universe / Dreams of Heaven. Released on compact disc in 1997 (Blueprint). Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee in 2002 in Europe (Turning Point, TPM-02215).
IN PUBLIC (2013)
Live tracks: Cold Cowtown Night / Small Beginnings / Black and White / Stop That Banging / There No More / Children of the Universe / Dreams of Heaven. Released on compact disc on October 29, 2013 in the US (AdequatEsounds, AS01).