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Squintaloo - Über Bord! CD (album) cover



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5 stars A hidden gem, Squintaloo, has been rocking Berlin for over 20 years now. One thing the band can not be accused of is over proliferation. In that time they have only managed four releases. However, what becomes immediately obvious is their diversity of style and composition within those four albums. From their quasi-avant/Krautrock debut latantriga, latantriga! to the laid back groove fusion metal of their second self-titled release, to a foray into alt- rock with Sibirskoblast, the band seemed to create its own personalized moving target. The 2017 release, Über Bord!, seems to draw everything together in a tightly dense package of progressive rock sounds.

Über Bord! can draw its greatest comparisons among Squintaloo's discography to the 2004 self-titled sophomore album. Über Bord! is not nearly as Fusion oriented as Squintaloo. Nor are the heavy parts nearly as distorted as the traditional metal influence that laced the earlier release. Über Bord! lives in its own space in the bands discography. Highly contrasting, but never out of reach, and always resolute, there seems to be a natural groove orientation behind the undeniable complexity herein. The best comparisons in the modern progressive paradigm that come to mind would be to Gösta Berlings Saga; though containing a great deal more clarity and a dash of math rock. The songs run a gamut of feels, from airy psychedelia to cacophonous collisions of sound to mystery to feel good moments and even a sea shanty to close out the album. One of the sounds that creates a unique texture in a couple of the songs is the use of a "musical saw", played by running a string bow across it. While this element has certainly been used in the past, the spacey aura it creates in the context of Über Bord! is chilling. Gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Each member of the band plays an assortment of instruments on the album. The studio mix on the album is amazing. Sounding both raw and clear, it achieves a balance that is rare in any modern music scene. With the range of instruments used in both the electric and acoustic spheres this balance is absolutely essential. The previously mentioned saw blade parts are blended with very heavy bass drums on Kara Buran-and I mean heeeavy, like over-sized car stereo bass speaker playing hip-hop heavy- and the mix is impeccable. Each detail can be heard with the utmost clarity. (and yes, I do let it rattle my car driving down the road). Several songs incorporate soft melodic percussion as well as winds. Again, all join the fray with uncanny balance and an undeniable classic prog sensibility.

When all is said and done, Über Bord! comes in as my favorite album of the very deep Progressive Rock year of 2017. The album has a little something for everybody. It is broad in spectrum and fantastically produced. I have no problem giving this album a perfect score. And as I write this I here the brilliant sea shanty outro of Peg Leg Copperjaws :
"Hidee Hidee Ho,
Hidee Hidee Ho..."

And it makes me happy...every time
Buy this album.

Report this review (#1892385)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Let me tell you this is great. I am a big King Crimson fan and i also love avant-garde prog. This is not as extreme as some bands of the latter genre but it does sound challenging. The songs have those changes that you want if you like that kind of music. I'm never specific with my reviews but that is because i like reviews that make me want to listen to the album whithout telling me what actually happens song by song. This band knows how to make atmospheres. They are also great at choosing instrumentation. Arrangements are incredible. The different moods are wonderfully put together. It is also a very well produced album. Somehow it has only 1 review so far. In my book that means it is a very unknown album. What a pity!
Report this review (#2506484)
Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | Review Permalink

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