Squackett - 'A Life Within A Day'

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Squackett - 'A Life Within A Day'

The much anticipated collaboration between Chris Squire and Steve Hackett has arrived.

It’s been a long time coming but finally the long mooted and much anticipated collaboration between Chris Squire (Yes) and Steve Hackett (ex-Genesis) has arrived. Hackett has been a particularly significant figure in my musical history, therefore there was some trepidation about what would be served up and whether it would meet the inevitably high expectations.

The pair had worked on this album for some time but ‘legal issues’ had prevented it being released and hints from them were that this album would surprise and we should expect the unexpected. For my part I hoped it would be a glorious Prog amalgam of classic Genesis and Yes. Well, it isn’t, in fact for the most part it sounds like a Steve Hackett album, which is not a bad thing, albeit with touches of Yes, Asia and GTR in the mix at various points I’m a bit surprised that they didn’t bring in a vocalist rather than take on this role themselves as this would have served to differentiate their sound from that of Hackett. I’d like to tell you who else plays on the album but my promo copy was short on detail.

The title track opens with a GTR/Asia feel before adopting the Middle Eastern style so redolent of Hackett’s more recent works. This track has a couple of jazzy breakdowns that had me asking “what were you thinking?” because they are tuneless. ‘Tall Ships’ is probably my favourite song which features a delightful Spanish guitar introduction, a wonderful groovy bass from Squire, some splendid accentuations from a flute and a terrific chorus all topped off with classic Hackett guitar solos. ‘Divided Self’ is an unusual number with its 60’s Pop vibe and Hank Marvin-esque guitar; the chorus has a Yes feel to it. ‘Aliens’ utilises the layered vocal style as favoured by Hackett albeit with what I assume is Squire taking lead. The lyrics have a Jon Anderson edge to them and Squire’s phrasing also lends a Yes feel to proceedings, while the chorus gets into your head. ‘Sea of Smiles’ reminds me of ‘Cured’ era Hackett with its catchy chorus and quality solo.

‘The Summer Backwards’ is an acoustic number that has a similarity to a recent Hackett track, ‘Stormchaser’ ups the tempo with a nice driving drum beat and a lovely bass motif, it certainly Rocks more than anything else on the album. ‘Can’t Stop the Rain’ is initially a gentle song with some delicate woodwind early on. Squire’s vocal is supplemented by fine female backing before the track builds rather well and then segues into the closing number. ‘Perfect Love Song’ which rounds out matters rather nicely.

So, this isn’t the album I was expecting and consequently it’s taken a few plays for me to fully appreciate it, but it has grown on me. If I have a criticism then it is the fact that it doesn’t sound different enough from Hackett’s solo work.

Gary Marshall

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