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




Crossover Prog

3.25 | 138 ratings

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3 stars I had low expectations after hearing a few samples before it was to be released. But when finally hearing it I was surprised to find some inspired moments in it. It becomes largely unexciting after a few listens though. I guess the album lands on between two and three stars.

The sound is the same as on Hacketts latest solo album, although that album is different in style, more thematic, like a journey were you go through varying sounds , moods , dynamic levels. Squackett is more straight and uniform and has nine individual songs. Rock with lots of ambiance,a touch of new-age which I can really appreciate when it sounds right.

The drum sound is the same as in Hacketts last three or four solo albums. To me it is still a problem. It's kept in the background, a bit too lacking in definition and presence . Basic half-tempo grooves are used over-extensively , as in Hacketts last solo album.

The singing is mostly harmonic, consisting of several layered parts. Sometimes it's nice, but it's overused, making the singing expression impersonal. The sound in general has a softness to it even in more intense parts , and sharper more punchy sound could have invoked stronger impressions.

1. A Life Within a Day

A riff with orchestral strings in middle-eastern style, with a straight half-tempo drum groove, and singing by Hackett. I recognize the riff from a Hackett tune but can't remember it. This part is nothing special - until! Out of the blue comes a great fast section with a cool guitar melody. It feels like something classic. Then some crazy soloing and fast drumming. Then it goes back to the main riff again. Superb middle section , although it doesn't connect very much with the middle eastern groove.

2. Tall Ships

Pretty great song! The verse is mainly a simple slow and heavy rock groove with a touch of blues and funk. There is a prominent 16th note driven bass groove with a very enjoyable bass sound. The chorus enters after while and adds a grand new-agey character with synth pads and harmonic vocals singing long notes. A great chorus which I never get tired of. Best song on the album.

3. Divided Self

Easygoing song with a strong 80's Yes character. Particularly the chorus with the harmonic vocals and its phrasing. The sitar guitar solo seems like Hackett is trying to sound like Steve Howe. Anyway, it's an okay track and the ending is funny in Hackett-humourous way with theatre organ and whistling.

4. Aliens

Mellow new-agey pop-rock song with a repetitive main theme and pretty weak sections in between. The vocals are harmonically layered all the way - too much, too robotic.

5. Sea of Smiles

Dull song with a catchy chorus made dull by harmonic vocals , and the sound is very soft and muffled, no edge.

6. The Summer Backwards

This is lacking in creativity and instantly reminds me of "Serpentine Song" from To Watch the Storms, which in turn is inspired by "I Talk to the Wind".

7. Storm Chaser

Similar style as Tall Ships. A nice song, despite that it uses a heavy slow rock groove like in so many songs by Hackett. The main rock groove constitutes most of the song, but the recurrent refrain "Storm Chaser" sung by harmonic vocals adds a nice grand character , a bit Enya-like.

8. Can't Stop the Rain

Bad mellow pop song, Squire singing with added autotune as a deliberate effect. Too unserious. The ending brings in an ascending chord sequence designed to become a nice transition to the next song which also introduces an ascending chord sequence.

9. Perfect Love Song

Atmospheric chill-newage rock characterized by orchestral strings in a chord movement. I like the guitar riff somewhat, but the repeated chorus "Perfect Love Song" becomes repetitive. It doesn't hold for many listens.

wilmon91 | 3/5 |


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