A Life Within a Day is not the first time we've seen a Genesis & Yes union, as I'm sure many of you will remember the mid '80s project GTR featuring both Steve Hackett and Steve Howe. Well, for Squackett, Mr. Hackett has teamed up with Yes bass legend Chris Squire, and the two titans of progressive rock have put together a very entertaining album that any genre fan should enjoy.
The seeds of Squackett were actually planted about 4 years ago when Squire was working on a solo album and someone suggested he get in touch with Hackett about doing something together. Though it's taken a few years to come to fruition, A Life Within a Day was worth the wait. Those expecting a perfect marriage of Genesis & Yes better check those expectations at the door, as this is certainly no '70s prog fest, but a very modern sounding progressive rock record that showcases both Hackett's incredible guitar skills and the vocals of both musicians. Opening title track features majestic keyboards and "Kashmir" styled bombast, with Hackett's soaring lead guitar work in full throttle and layers of vocals from both men. Squire's slippery bass lines open up the jazzy "Tall Ships", gradually giving way to Hackett's yearning guitar and some funky rhythms, while "Divided Self" is pure pop, reminding of early '80s ELO with its lush layers of vocals. One of the strongest tracks here is the lovely "Aliens", an atmospheric mix of pop and prog, somewhere along the lines of classic Alan Parson Project, with Squire's vocals really strong and Hackett's tasty guitar work hitting the mark.
"Sea of Smiles" is being tabbed as the first single from the album, and it's a good one, with an ultra catchy chorus and upbeat arrangements that instantly sticks in your head. On "The Summer Backwards" the duo approaches Hackett's time in Genesis circa Wind and Wuthering, so expect some lush guitars, waves of keyboards, and layers of vocals. A really nice song that brings the mood down to a certain level of tranquility, which is quickly smashed to bits by the hard rock of "Storm Chaser", a rousing number littered with angry 'Hackett-to-bits' guitar noise and muscular bass grooves from Squire. Steve's solo on this one is all over the place, as he attacks his whammy bar with reckless abandon (ala Jeff Beck) and unleashes thunderous power chords. "Can't Stop the Rain" is probably the weak track of the bunch, an unmemorable pop number that has plenty in common with the later day Genesis & Yes output, but does feature some solid vocals from Squire and a nice guitar solo from Hackett. Closer "Perfect Love Song" is thrilling prog rock complete with huge vocal arrangements and loads of tasty Hackett lead guitar.
One would have hoped that a collaboration between these two prog legends would have resulted in some quality music, and the duo do not disappoint. A Life Within a Day reeks of class all the way, and let's hope that this is not a one-off from Squackett and they perhaps have more releases in store for us and even some live dates.
- A Life Within a Day
- Tall Ships
- Divided Self
- Sea of Smiles
- The Summer Backwards
- Storm Chaser
- Can't Stop the Rain
- Perfect Love Song