Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#725 in the Series) is Squackett, A Day Within a Life.
This is a project that goes back to 2008 when longtime Yes bass player Chris Squire was planning another solo record. His first and only previous release was 1975’s Fish Out of Water, though he did another project with Yes part-timer Billy Sherwood, and a Christmas record Chris Squires Swiss Choir in which Steve Hackett was the other main half of the band. Hackett was the guitar virtuoso of Genesis who survived the Peter Gabriel departure to write and perform on two post-Gabriel records, one of which Wind and Wuthering is in my opinion his greatest work. He also has released an incredible 27 solo studio records and another 10 live albums. Of his solos I love Please Don’t Touch, his second, and love almost as much as his latest Beyond the Shrouded Horizon.
But let’s hear about this one. At first it sounds more like a Steve Hackett solo with Squire as guest. But additional listens reveal Squire did bring some of his material with (both get writing credit on all songs), a couple are leftovers from the aforementioned plan for a solo from Squire and sound like that would have fitted almost perfectly on the last Yes release We Could Fly From Here, minus Trevor Horn’s production. This is not quite a progressive rock record and hard as they may try to sound pop they only come close, particularly in the last two songs, “Cant Stop the Rain” and “Perfect Love Song.”
They both share lead and background vocals and create some pretty blends of the voices. Squire does not have the same range he did when he first sang, really loudly and passionately, “Hold Out your Hand” from Fish out of Water but you can still tell it is him, especially in the songs he brought to the project. Hackett sounds as good as ever, both on the acoustic and electric, with great tone and style that really enhances what is here.
There are only nine songs, the longest being the title track at just over six and a half minutes. My two favorites are the fifth track “Sea of Smiles,” and the seventh “Storm Chaser” which is not to be confused with Soundchaser, the epic Yes song from Relayer though it packs a big punch. And the last song, “Perfect Love Song” is very catchy and could be a hit in a different era or a different universe. The bass playing is above average and even greater if you pay close attention, and the guitar is just riff after riff of creative flavors. Not the uncountable time signatures you might look for, but simple songs that are unique. Certainly a cool album, or maybe project would be a more accurate description. Both of these guys have played on some of my all time favorite music. I think together they seem to work pretty well and even though this project took years to complete, the trained ear will know they have not been working on it for years, but it just now came together, lucky for us.
– John Driscoll, Chicago, Illinois, USA
- A Life Within A Day (Hackett/Squire/King) 6:35
- Tall Ships (Hackett/Squire/King) 6:18
- Divided Self (Hackett/Squire/King/Clabburn) 4:06
- Aliens (Hackett/Squire/King/Healy) 5:32
- Sea Of Smiles (Hackett/Squire/King) 5:25
- The Summer Backwards (Hackett/Squire/King) 3:00
- Storm Chaser (Hackett/Squire/King) 5:26
- Can’t Stop The Rain (Hackett/Squire/King/Johnson/Sessler) 5:47
- Perfect Love Song (Hackett/Squire/King/Johnson) 4:04
- Chris Squire – bass, vocals
- Steve Hackett – guitars, vocals
- Roger King – keyboards
- Jeremy Stacey – drums
- Amanda Lehmann – backing vocals