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ESQUIRE

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Esquire biography
The name Esquire will be familiar to the more devoted fans of Yes, as tracks by the band have appeared on various "Yes; friends and family" type compilations. This though is not a side project for Chris Squire, but a band led by his ex-wife Nikki Squire.

The genesis of the band was in 1982, when Chris met some distant relatives who were performing in a club band. He offered them the use of his home studio, and while he was away from home (touring with Yes no doubt), he left Nikki to assist the band. She soon started working with them and joined the band (then called New Cross) as vocalist and co-songwriter. New Cross did not last long, but Nikki and Nigel McClaren continued to work together, recruiting Charles Olins along the way, the trio signing up with Trevor Horn's ZTT records. During this period, Horn actually joined Yes, so the time he had available to produce was limited. In 1986, Horn agreed to release the band, and they were picked up by John Kalodner of Geffin Records.

The band's first (eponymous) album took some time to complete, finally being released in 1987. The line up consisted of Nikki on vocals accompanied by Nigel McLaren (bass, backing vocals) and Charles Olins (keyboards, backing vocals). The Squire's daughter Carmen also sings backing vocals. Although the Squires were no longer a couple, Chris lent a hand with mixing and production on the band's debut, but has never (officially) played with the band.

By the time the second Esquire album was recorded, Chris and Nikki were divorced (they actually divorced before the debut album hit the streets) and despite rumours to the contrary, Chris is adamant that he had no involvement at all in that album. Olins left the band too, so Esquire effectively became a duo of Nikki and Nigel McLaren, with guest musicians helping out as required. For a variety of reasons, "Coming home" took a long time to complete, eventually being released in 1997. It remains the last album to be released under the name Esquire to date.

Recently however, Nikki and Nigel have started working together again, and material from a planned forthcoming album can be heard in their myspace page http://www.myspace.com/esquireband

Bob McBeath ("Easy livin"), Scotland

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ESQUIRE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.11 | 16 ratings
Esquire
1987
2.96 | 6 ratings
Coming Home
1994
2.00 | 2 ratings
No Spare Planet
2016

ESQUIRE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ESQUIRE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ESQUIRE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ESQUIRE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ESQUIRE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Esquire by ESQUIRE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.11 | 16 ratings

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Esquire
Esquire Prog Related

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I can see why it's hard for many prog fans to consider this group's debut to qualify as "progressive rock." The songs are relatively short and are structured like late-80s pop/rock; there's a fair amount of programming (including some stuttering samples), and the band and LP seems to have been aimed more at the MTV / singles market than the album market. It's more like prog-pop.

However, I will say, without hyperbole, that this is prog-pop at its finest. Lots of hooks, an odd time signature here and there, good guitar playing and very inventive (and blatantly Squire-influenced) bass playing and composition. I like Nikki Squire's voice, but it was quite different from the norm in 1987, and I suppose that must have been part of the reason that the singles never charted (in the US anyway).

The strongest tracks are the poppy "Moving Together" and "To the Rescue," and the more introspective "Blossomtime," which at 6:43 is easily the longest song here. The Yes influences are clear but in no way pervasive. The middle section of "Up Down Turnaround" would've fit well on Big Generator - - in fact, the melody and guitar playing are positively Rabinesque. Trevor Horn and Alan White participated on one or two songs, and Chris Squire sings backup here and there - - to great effect, imho. Only at the very end of the album, on the coda of "What You've Been Saying," does he sing without his wife.

In all, a great pop album with progressive influences. I consider it part of a complete collection of prog albums insofar as it is an exemplar of a sub-subgenre (i.e., progressive pop) - - even if it's a less popular sub-subgenre.

 Esquire by ESQUIRE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.11 | 16 ratings

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Esquire
Esquire Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Up, down, turnaround

Esquire is a band led by Chris Squire's wife (at the time) Nikki Squire and is of some interest to fans of Yes because of the contributions of Chris Squire on backing vocals and bass. Chris is also credited as co-producer of the opening track To The Rescue while Trevor Horn is credited for the mix. Also, Alan White is one of several drummers credited on the album (though unclear on which tracks he plays). Yet, any similarities with the music of Yes are superficial as Esquire is primarily a Pop group and not a progressive Rock band. However, imagine an emasculated version of 90125-era Yes or Asia without any muscular guitars and you might get an idea. Perhaps The Buggles is a better comparison.

There is some merit to some of these songs, but in the end each song sounds too similar to the previous one and it is hard to maintain interest to the end of the album. Ultimately, Esquire is just a curiosity for devoted Yes fans.

 Esquire by ESQUIRE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.11 | 16 ratings

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Esquire
Esquire Prog Related

Review by senor_velasco

3 stars Talent Runs in the Squire Family

In the 80s I became a fan of Esquire before I even knew much about its mothership, Yes. I knew nothing of the involvement of Alan White, Chris Squire or his talented (former) wife, Nikki. All I knew what that the sound of vocal harmonies, rich synthesizers and memorable choruses made me an immediate fan. This music is heavily layered, and a real treat to decrypt when listening.

The lyrics, like most in the Yes family of music, are nonsensical, and even quite silly at times - such that I usually feel ridiculous as I sing them to myself. But the lyrics aren't what makes this a good album.

While Nikki Squire takes credit for most of what's on the album, Chris Squire's influence (as well as his backing vocals) is prominent and indisputable. What's also significant is that this is surprisingly much less progressive than the Yes music of just a few years earlier. Songs fall within the 3-5 minute range, solo performances are all but absent and there's never any sort of story to be told here. Dynamically, each song carries a distinct individual melody and arrangement, but all songs are closely aligned with one another and don't deviate much from the established sound.

So from a prog perspective, this album falls a little flat. But that doesn't diminish the solid sound and performances of all involved.

Highlights include the rousing "To the Rescue," "Up, Down, Turnaround" and "Hourglass."

Given that this rock isn't all that progressive, I penalize it by one star. But it's good enough to be given at least three of them.

 Esquire by ESQUIRE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.11 | 16 ratings

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Esquire
Esquire Prog Related

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Ear candy prog?

Looking at the name you would guess straight that this band is something to do with Yes' Chris Squire and...you bet! It's basically the band of two: Nikki Squire (now ex wife of Chris Squire) as lead vocal and Nigel McLaren (bass) with collaboration from well known musicians on top of Chris Squire: Alan White (Yes) and Pat Thrall (Asia). The music is quite straightforward and easy to digest. The opening track "To the Rescue" is catchy and reminds me to the voice of Jon Anderson (Yes) especially during the Big Generator album. The music flows nicely from start to end. The second track "Sunshine" is another good follow-up from the opening. The other song that is quite good terms of melody and flow is 'Up Down Turnaround'. I guess most of you like music can enjoy this album quite well. The interlude part features good guitar solo combined nicely with keyboard work. You might say that the way Nikki sings is somewhat similar with the way Jon sings.

The melody of all songs contained here is quite good and makes it easy for everyone to repeat. Look at the example of 'Hourglass' (6th track) that reminds you to the Yes' "Onward". The composition is quite good with managed changes from one piece to another. The overall style of the music for each track is quite uniform and it makes the music is quite cohesive. The sonic quality is excellent. Overall, I think this is a very good album and very enjoyable. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Esquire by ESQUIRE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.11 | 16 ratings

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Esquire
Esquire Prog Related

Review by iguana

4 stars if 80s hi tech rock is your bag, here's a long forgotten gem ? well, it would be such if people had heard the bloody thing in the first place, which, alas, was not really the case despite the hype that apparently surrounded this release at the time (1987). what a surprisingly good album with some delightful and refreshingly un-dumb songwriting ? not a given at that point in time! ESQUiRE were centered around vocalist nikki squire, who at the time was married to YES bass player chris squire and, indeed, the entire affair sports quite a few YES (1980s version) traits ? hubby chris contributes some deft bass lines and backing vocals in his customary fashion, trevor horn acts as executive producer, there is some drumming by YES stalwart alan white and even nikki comes across as a bearable version of jon anderson minus the space cadet mannerisms... some things may seem a bit overwrought to these ears (nikki's phrasing in "knock twice for heaven" is hilarious) but the songwriting is stellar and the production is as smooth as glass (as expected with trevor horn twiddling the knobs). essential listening if you feel like wearing your shoulder padded blazer of yore and growing a nice mullet again... however, best played before some rough and ready grunge/garage/indie rock to avoid constipation ...
 Coming Home by ESQUIRE album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.96 | 6 ratings

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Coming Home
Esquire Prog Related

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars Part of the family

Having had tracks included on both the "Yes; friends and family" compilations, along with numerous other similar extended-Yes collections, one could be forgiven for assuming that there is a direct connection between Esquire and Yes. The truth is though that Esquire take their name from Chris Squire's ex-wife Nikki, who is lead singer and song writer with the band. While Chris had some involvement with Esquire's eponymous debut, he has made it clear in interviews that he was not involved in any way with this, the band's second (and to date latest) release.

Esquire was originally a trio, but between their two albums, keyboards player Charles Olins left, leaving just Nikki and bassist Nigel McLaren. The pair write and perform all the songs here, assisted by guest musicians such as Denny Laine (of the early Moody Blues and later Wings), and Chris Slade of Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Due to a number of factors, not least of which the upheaval in Nikki's personal life, the album took some years to finalise, eventually appearing in 1997. That version came in a choice of red or blue covers, but neither sold in great quantities and are now firmly classed as rarities. A CD re-release of the album in 2002 saw greater success, that version containing two additional tracks "Yours truly" and "Hearts of gold".

"Coming home" is generally regarded as a better album than "Esquire", with less overt Yes overtones. That said, Nikki's voice does have a passing similarity with that of her ex-husband in both style and tone. On the opening "Digital kids" this is particularly apparent, the song having a resemblance with songs by the Yes West combo. In terms of music, this is one of the more straightforward songs on the album, the repetitive hook on the chorus clearly being intended to catch the listener's attention. "Big girls don't cry" (not the Four seasons song!) reminds me a bit of "Big generator" in terms of its slower, majestic beat; Nikki's vocals sound rather like Chaka Khan's (especially Khan's contribution to Rick Wakeman's album "1984").

It is when we get to "Tron Thomi' that we reach the real meat of the album. This song, which was influenced by the Squire's middle daughter whose nickname is Tronika, looks at such weighty matters as religion and ecology from a little girls viewpoint. With a running time of around 8 minutes, the piece is allowed to develop more fully, Nikki's vocals here being very Jon Anderson like. Indeed, there are a number of Yes' tricks and trademarks throughout the song, these being very much to the benefit of this, one of the undoubted highlights of the album.

"We are" is a pleasant power ballad with suitably sugary lyrics, the multi-part harmonies on the chorus coming across particularly well. The relatively brief "Yours truly" is a pleasant, but undemanding light pop song. The title track is another well constructed power rock number with a more progressive arrangement. "Change of heart" is a delightful romantic pop ballad with some fine keyboards. Whether the lyrics are intended for Chris is not stated, presumably not. "Glass houses" is a rather average upbeat number with only a burst of admittedly enjoyable lead guitar to distinguish it. "The zone of O" returns to the feel of a Yes song, from their later years at least.

"Keep on dreaming" has a similar complexion to that of the opening track, the jaunty upbeat mood coming across as overtly pop. "Save it" could again be a paean of another sort to Chris, the child like vocals on the chorus being surprisingly effective. The album closes with "Hearts of gold", another power ballad with an atmospheric arrangement.

"Coming home" offers firm evidence that Nikki Squire is a highly proficient musician in her own right. There's no doubt that living with Chris Squire and being involved in his work has rubbed of on her, but this can only be to her benefit. Overall, this album is a little too one dimensional to be hailed as a lost classic from the wider Yes family. There is though plenty of fine music here, and while it could never be described as progressively challenging, there is certainly a depth to the music which enhances the overall listening experience.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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