Two prog-rock legends — bassist Chris Squire (Yes) and guitarist Steve Hackett (ex- Genesis, ex- GTR) — have gotten together to form a new band, SQUACKETT.
One of the cardinal questions for fans is probably this: What happens when musicians from different bands of the same genre join forces for a project? The eighties frequently tried to give an answer with the so-called supergroups. Steve Hackett himself was once part of such a supergroup, GTR.
A quarter of a century later the approach has changes. Chris Squire had worked with Steve before here and there, and they had the idea for this joint album; "A Life Within A Day".
Expectations in the progressive fan camps of Genesis and Yes are naturally high, though nobody ever said which style the album would be in.
"A Life Within A Day" is therefore basically the playground for to musical legends and not a place to stick a label on.
The album begins with a title song that is as compact and heavy as is normal in the progressive area. It also takes the listener on a rollercoaster ride of arrangements that does not always make this an easy listening experience. Hackett's vocals fit the song. Actually, this first song gives one the impression of listening to a Hackett album.
"Tall Ships" is a semi-tempo number with great rhythms that are not quite typical for prog music, it's more pop&rock like '80s YES. Above and besides these there is, once more, Hackett's guitar and a really fat bass by Squire. They also share vocal duties here. I Love this track.
When "Divided Self" arrives you definitively confirm that 'A Life Within A Day' is not a prog album but a musical journey, a potpourri, as it were. Divided Self is almost fun. It is a song that makes you forget that this is no Steve Hackett album. Steve sings this four minute piece that even spreads some '80s style in the end.
"Aliens" seems quite unobtrusive, though there are clear links to early acoustic prog songs by Genesis as well as Yes. The melody is strong and convolutedly constructed. During the verses Chris Squire sings, while Steve does the chorus.
"Sea Of Smiles", the first single off the album, is one of the straightest songs on the album. As on the previous songs, there is much echo which adds to the melodic part of the songs. A catchy chorus has slipped out of their pens, to that the idea to make this the single is logical. Interestingly, Hackett holds back on his guitar before he plays a brief solo in the middle.
"The Summer Backwards" follows without a break - once again it is Hackett's voice, enhanced by doubling and echoes, that carries of this short song. This peace resembles what Hackett did on To Watch The Storms.
"Stormchaser" brings back the heaviness, and the drums sound stronger again. It begins with a guitar instrumental solo, but this is a rock song with a prog finale.
And so one has to wait for "Can't Stop The Rain" until one can clearly hear Chris Squire musically and vocally. This is the most non-Hackett song, and it is a brief journey through the recent past, with many parallels to songs progressive bands would do in the '80s. A track that could almost be called a ballad, though it would not do full justice to the song.
The next song follows seamlessly. "Perfect Love Song" is the last piece on the album, and it is the ninth of nine album tracks that must be called a song. It is rather short at four minutes, which sort of contradicts many album finales on progressive albums. "Perfect Love Song" has quite a compact instrumentation, with a vocal blanket in which Hackett can be heard more clearly. The songs ends somewhat suddenly, and so does the whole album after some 45 minutes.
"A Life Within A Day" is a pleasant project by two consumate musicians that is quite enjoyable to listen to.
It is definitely not a pure prog album, of course you have some elements, but basically the music here goes for rock&pop structures with some complex arrangements, not your typical radio garbage.
It is actually quite remarkable what a creative output Steve Hackett has been producing lately. The CD sounds in many places as his solo projects, but much more accessible.
"A Life Within A Day" comes out in three formats. Apart from the standard CD there will be a CD/DVD deluxe edition which offers the whole album in 5.1, and a LP version on vinyl.
01 - A Life Within A Day
02 - Tall Ships
03 - Divided Self
04 - Aliens
05 - Sea Of Smiles
06 - The Summer Backwards
07 - Storm Chaser
08 - Can't Stop The Rain
09 - Perfect Love Song
Chris Squire - Bass, Vocals
Steve Hackett - Guitar, Vocals
Roger King - Keyboards
Jeremy Stacey - Drums
Amanda Lehmann - Vocals
BUY IT !