RECORD MIRROR – March 3, 1973

A quick Flash

Peter Erskine on the BANKS of Yes

FLASH THEY aren’t; off-stage, anyhow. But up there under the lights guitarist Peter Banks does have. well … a certain style; some say a recognisable style. Peter used to be lead guitarist with Yes and unfortunately critics over here have tended to equate the two bands rather closely. Flash have been labelled here as Yes imitators; they’re touring as support for Beck, Bogert and Appice at the moment, and audience reaction so far has not been all that kindly—hardly surprising, really, as the Beck audience is there to witness a demonstration of peaking, punchy three-piece rock, not a series of winding, arranged neo-jazz passages; too much of a contrast for the average listener. But take a listen to their current album, “Flash In The Can,” and realise that obviously there are parallels to Yes—there are bound to be—but, in the short length of time they’ve been together, Flash are developing as a separate entity. The pieces arc long and some-times rambling and some-times rather too fragmented, but they are distinctive and fresh and full of potential. Interestin’ stuff indeed. And a taste that the US seems to have acquired with a little help from their wide open airways. The first album (with the panties cover) picked up incredible FM airplay without so much as a persuasive nod from the record company. Carter and drummer Mike Hough are lodged at the round table in Sovereign Records’ Lancaster Gate mews base breaking into the remainder of their Christmas fare — three crates of superpotent Chateau Skullblast. They are, they say, suffering from post-tour brain damage, the band having spent the majority of its one year lifespan grafting its rocks off abroad, putting out for the Colonials, as it were; a particular stronghold being on the East Coast, and especially ’round New York. “Probably because we’re more rural than urban,” says Carter, “it’s neurotic, aggressive city music.” The impression is that Carter would like to alter the present course of the band a little. No gossip or bitching, he’s quite open in his criticism. Bassist Ray Bennett is into the idea of recording a concept album, but Carter doesn’t agree. He’s all for shorter, slightly looser material. “But we could do a 30-minute, one-side thing couldn’t we?” Bennett asks. “Well, that would leave us room for only two more songs,” replies Carter. “They’re long enough already,” he adds. “It gets so that it’s too much for people to take.” “But there’s a definite link between this and the first album,” adds Hough. “We’re still fighting to get out of ourselves—which is why the next album’s so important.” And why they’re taking a long overdue pause after the Beck tour for writing and rehearsing in preparation for further studio adventures in June. “In The Can” was recorded over a year ago now, and there have been changes since then. As Carter says: “Every musician is a masochist. As soon as he reaches his horizon it lifts to reveal another …” “You see,” says Hough “we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. We really haven’t even broken in.”