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Squackett - A Life Within A Day CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.25 | 138 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Well, after a fair old while of gossip, half news, and promises, the official collaboration between two of progressive rock's titans is upon us. Whilst Steve Hackett guested on the rather enjoyable Chris Squire Christmas album a couple of years ago, this, it is safe to say, is the first "real" co-written and performed project, and I, for one, sincerely hope it will not be the last.

Of course, there will be more than a few out there expecting something akin to Selling England on an Island next to Topographic Oceans, i.e. a symphonic paradise, taking us all back to the glory days of yore.

I am actually mighty glad that this is not what we get. For a start, those days are now 40 years behind us. Both of these supreme musicians have released a wealth of material since then, most of which bears hardly any resemblance to such albums.

Instead, what we get here is a meeting that reflects the written and musical skills in 2012, and I have to say that some comments I have seen that Squire is underwhelming in terms of contribution, effectively guesting on a Steve Hackett solo album, are rather wide of the mark. Oh, for sure, there is much of a feel of Hackett's recent work in a few tracks, certainly the excellent opener, the title track. However, plastered all over this work are the trademark melodic bass sequences of Squire (still the supreme master of making a bass guitar sound just like a lead instrument), and also his vocals, so often understated or relegated to a harmonic role with Yes. Indeed, one of my favourite recent Yes tracks was the marvellous Can You Imagine, itself a hangover from the aborted XYZ project with Jimmy Page, and so witness here his excellent vocals on Tall Ships especially, a track which has the feel of much of the second part of Fly From Here, but, in my opinion, benefiting strongly from Hackett's input. In addition, the duo sound exceptionally strong vocally on Aliens.

My personal favourite is actually the shortest track here, The Summer Backwards, which, on first listen, sounds almost exactly like such recent Hackett tracks such as Rebecca. It is only when you listen more, hear that lilting Squire bass and his unique vocal harmonies backing Hackett's gentle lead that you realise that Squire really has brought so much more to this project.

We should also mention the strong input, again, from Roger King, Hackett's keyboard player and co writer. It really is hard to imagine a Hackett project without King now, and his work here is utterly solid.

There is a bit of everything here. Some harder moments, some familiar Hackett moments, some Zeppelin & Beatles influenced moments, some nods to glories past, and Yes style signatures, but, most of all, this is the sound of two legends utterly comfortable in each others company, and more than content to release an album which also plays to some strong commercial sensibilities. For no better examples, hear the enjoyable Divided Self, and the exceptional closer, Perfect Love Song, which positively exudes emotion. It is somewhat hard to imagine them writing such a track in 1973, and the world, in my opinion, is all the better for the fact that they do so in 2012.

Lyrically, both are also on top form. I especially love the lyrics to Aliens, which explores the concept that "little green men" are, in fact, visitors to Earth from our own future.

So, a triumph. No, it is not a masterpiece, but it is an excellent album which should grace the collection of any self respecting prog fan. Let's hope for a commercial success which, we are promised, might lead to a tour and further future collaborations.

lazland | 4/5 |


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