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leonalvarado View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Squackett
    Posted: September 12 2012 at 11:46
Steve Hackett and Chris Squire have finally put out their much anticipated album under the "Squackett " banner. The CD titled "A Life Within A Day" is the culmination of their collaborative effort and has a great sound right out of the gate. The title track starts the album with a strong hint of Zeppelin blended into it.  The song is somewhat a mix of Hackett's solo stuff with bits of Zeppelin's "Kashmir" thrown in for good measure. Drummer Jeremy Stacey does a good interpretation of John Bonham's drumming on this song.

"Tall Ships", the second piece,  is a very modern song that manages to keep a very progressive style. Some of the guitar riffs sound amazingly close to Jeff Beck which is very cool given the creativeness of Steve and Jeff for that matter. As of this writing, the piece had become my favourite one of the whole album. There is something deliciously haunting within the melody and the contrasting guitar passages. The bass line is also solid and has a killer riff to it. A brilliant song indeed.

"Divided Self" is the third song of the album. Keyboardist/Producer Roger King and Hackett's long-time friend and sometimes collaborator Nick Clabburn helped in composing this piece that sometimes takes a Beatle-like turn. It is the first of several tracks co-written with other people. The song has strong vocal harmonies but given Squire's past, it is at least expected.

"Alien" is the fourth song on the CD. For this song, Squire takes the lead on vocals but it's quite hard to detect where one singer begins and the other one ends. The song's vocal melody does reminds us of the latest Yes CD. In a way, the song is a better Yes song than the some of the ones from the "Fly From Here" record.

"Sea Of Smiles" starts with what sounds like the soundtrack from the movie "Halloween" but soon changes into what perhaps would be the most commercial song from the album. Perhaps pegged by the band to be their signature "single". The song runs through a consistent semi-rock-oriented-radio format. Would it find commercial success? I doubt it. It is still too musically complex for heavy rotation on radio stations but I would love to be proven wrong on this.

The sixth song on the album is titled "Summer Backwards" and it has a throw back sound reminiscent of the late seventies. In my opinion, this is the song that gets closest to a Genesis song (circa 1976-77).

"Storm Chaser" starts just like a typical Hackett song but as soon as the vocals start it takes a different sound. Once again, the drums are very much like John Bonham and there is even a Crimsonesque riff (at 3:20 into the song, the musical phrasing sounds just like it came right out of KC's "Red"). I wonder if they did that on purpose. The theremin-like keys also depict a little bit of the Beach Boys' DNA into the mix. Amazingly (at least to me), Steve's vocals sound very much like those of my late friend Shannon Taylor (check Shannon's music here). In all, it is a very interesting song that covers lots of textures.

"Can't Stop The Rain" is another song with Squire on the lead vocals. It is a ballad of sorts that sounds a bit like it could belong in "Fly From Here". I can attest for sure but I think I detect some auto-tune in Chris' singing. Even the jazzy guitar solo towards the end sounds a little like Steve Howe (I'm sure merely by coincidence). Funny how some things work out sometimes.

The last song of the album is a strong song that finishes the album appropriately. "Perfect Love Song" may by itself not be the perfect song the title suggest but it is certainly a strong musical piece and a fine way to end the musical voyage.

Besides having Steve hackett on guitars, vocals and harmonica as well as Chris Squire on bass and vocals, the album personnel include Roger King on keyboards and programming, Jeremy Stacey on drums and Amanda Lehmann on backing vocals. Also Christine Townsend, Richard Stewart and Dick Driver play the string section on "Life Within A Day".

"A Life Within A Day" has a great sound right out of the gate.

The production values in the album are superb. Roger King did an amazing job producing the album. Despite my mentioning of other musicians and albums as reference, this album holds up wonderfully on its own. It is proof that these chaps "get it". It is a very relevant album that shows the high level of musicianship and composition that can come up from these legendary men. A testament that age hasn't changed the spirit and so as long as they can get inspired behind a project, they can deliver, and deliver big.

I listened to the album several times before deciding to write this article. As with much of the greatest music, the album keeps growing and growing on me. It has also left me wondering about many scenarios. My favourite one has the band touring across the world successfully enough to warrant more from them.

I must admit that I was concerned about it after reading in an interview that the album wasn't about  esoteric signatures and odd tempo changes. After all, those are main ingredients to what has been known as "prog" music. Instead, we have easy-to-follow melodies performed and arranged beautifully. For the first time in long whilst, I have purchased an album that sounded great to me from the beginning to the end without weak pieces. Every song is at least very good if not great. Perhaps I'm showing a bit much of my musical preferences but I feel this album has everything I expect from a music album these days. It is new and refreshing but at the same time it has some old familiarities that brings us some comfort. It is beautifully crafted from the music to the production of it. Best of all, it realises the dream of many fans out there by putting together two of the most legendary musicians that progressive rock has ever produced.

Come to think of it, Steve Hackett is the one member from Genesis that has stayed true to his musical roots. He consistently puts out great albums like "Beyond The Shrouded Horizon" (his latest prior to this effort and one brilliant album).

Chris Squire is the quintessential bass player. I don't care how many fantasy band lineups you would care to make. In my mind I would only choose between three bass players and on the top of the list there is Chris Squire, (the other ones are Tony Levin, and the late John Entwistle). Squire's album "Fish Out Of Water" is a better Yes album than many Yes albums. regardless of what you may or may not think of him personally, the man can play the bass in such a wonderful way.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2012 at 11:48
Why not just post a review?
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Catcher10 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2012 at 11:57
Didin't this come out a few months ago?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2012 at 12:12
Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Why not just post a review?

Agreed. It's a long review, not a "blog".


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2012 at 12:15
Originally posted by Catcher10 Catcher10 wrote:

Didin't this come out a few months ago?

yep




Originally posted by lazland lazland wrote:

Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Why not just post a review?

Agreed. It's a long review, not a "blog".

I'm still not sure what constitutes a "blog"LOL But I thought it was a kind of diary?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2012 at 12:18
Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Originally posted by Catcher10 Catcher10 wrote:

Didin't this come out a few months ago?

yep




Originally posted by lazland lazland wrote:

Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Why not just post a review?

Agreed. It's a long review, not a "blog".

I'm still not sure what constitutes a "blog"LOL But I thought it was a kind of diary?

You and me both, mate. Serious blogging is yet to arrive in deep West WalesLOL


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2012 at 19:23
Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Originally posted by Catcher10 Catcher10 wrote:

Didin't this come out a few months ago?

yep




Originally posted by lazland lazland wrote:

Originally posted by Snow Dog Snow Dog wrote:

Why not just post a review?

Agreed. It's a long review, not a "blog".

I'm still not sure what constitutes a "blog"LOL But I thought it was a kind of diary?
 
Blog is what I pull out of my nose.......Wait that's a booger, my bad......
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2012 at 03:58
I see this thread has been moved  making our blog chat redundant.Ouch
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 22 2012 at 15:56
Perfect Love Song - wow!!!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2012 at 07:43
As usual.

Super groups rarely release super albums.

Good but not great

Iván


Edited by Ivan_Melgar_M - November 20 2012 at 07:43
            
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 21 2012 at 00:52
Just recently got the G/F vinyl edition of this SQUACKETT project and I'm thoroughly surprised with it.  Compared with ASIA's recent XXX album, Squackett delivers in spades.........and I much prefer it to Hackett's own recent album 'Beyond The Shrouded Horizon'.   
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