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




Crossover Prog

3.25 | 139 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars After what seems like almost a decade worth of gossip, hear-say and near misses, the long-awaited union between two of progressive rocks original titans - ex-Genesis and GTR guitarist Steve Hackett and Yes bassist Chris Squire - finally comes to fruition. A lengthy gestation period has, inevitably, led to serious levels of hype, though happily this highly melodic album doesn't disappoint, the bulk of 'A Life Within A Day' finding a careful middle-ground between both creators' individual styles whilst also incorporating a slick contemporary edge. Of course, anyone who has spent time mulling over the many prog press column inches dedicated to the release of 'A Life Within A Day' will have noted that both Hackett and Squire have talked a great deal about how this isn't a straight-ahead progressive rock record, the duo instead focusing their energies on producing a glossy, streamlined and, at times, rather ethereal song-based album that for the most eschews the long-running prog epics and intricate instrumental flourishes found in the duo's group work with Genesis and Yes in favour of carefully-crafted individual pieces. Yet, conversely, neither is this a simple cross-breeding exercise. Instead, 'A Life Within A Day' finds both artists mining the full scope of their many influences into what can be best described as pop-prog album wrapped in a low-key classic rock coating. The powerful title-track opens the album in style, blending booming, Zeppelin-sized drums and Squire's trademark bass runs into an impressively anthemic rocker, though it is the following 'Tall Ships' that proves the real highlight. A catchy, head-nodding extravaganza, 'Tall Ships' is a magnificent track, featuring a decidedly funky turn from Squire underpinning Hackett's simple-but-effective guitar twitches and hauntingly orchestral, CSNY-style vocal harmonies. Follow-up 'Divided Self' opts for a slightly more sentimental, pop-glazed direction, yet it's a brief lapse in an otherwise thoroughly satisfying opening half. The album's second-side doesn't feature any 'Tall Ships'-sized moments, yet the gently-lilting 'The Summer Backwards' and the melancholy closer 'Perfect Love Song' more than illustrate the duo's strong songwriting skills, a stylistic facet that dominates the album and is bravely chosen over material designed to showcase their consummate instrumental abilities. We do get a brief taste of Yes-style histrionics in the brazen mid-section of the pulsating 'Storm Chaser', yet 'A Life Within A Day's strongest moments are usually its simplest. An attractive and melodic album, the long-awaited appearance of Squackett has shown the (very) long wait to be more then worthwhile. Those expecting a full-on progressive rock assault may come back disappointed, yet this is not Genesis-and-Yes, it's Hackett-and-Squire, and the mature approach of the album reflects both individuals strengths in almost perfect harmony, neither overshadowing the other. Hopefully we'll get another Squackett record in the near future, though hopefully it won't take the best part of a decade to appear. Tagged as the major 2012 prog-rock record, Squackett happily lives up to all the hype. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 4/5 |


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