Squackett, the new collaboration between Yes’ Chris Squire and former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, will issue a limited edition 7-inch vinyl single on April 21 to coincide with Record Store Day. A single edit of a song called “Sea of Smiles” will be backed with “Perfect Love Song.”
The two prog-rock legends met when Squire was working on a solo album, and out of those sessions the idea evolved for a combined effort to be called Squackett. Four years in the making, this forthcoming full-length studio project — due May 28, 2012 from Esoteric Antenna — incorporates elements of both men’s musical legacies, but Hackett was quick to say that it doesn’t mimic either Yes or Genesis.
“It was very much about a bunch of pals swapping notes and anecdotes,” Hackett says. “I would say if people are looking for uncountable time signatures, in the main that’s not what this album holds. I think the songs are more simple and direct.”
Over time, the Squackett album evolved into something that both men say is unique to their lengthy catalog of songs.
“It has a flavor to it that is reminiscent of a few things from different artists,” Squire adds. “There is some clever prog rock stuff in there, some jazzy bits, but there are parts that have vocal harmonies like Crosby, Stills and Nash.”
Squire has appeared on every Yes album since the band’s founding in the late 1960s. Hackett was a member of Genesis from 1971-77, a stint that included six studio albums and three live projects, before embarking on a solo career.
Here’s a look back at previous reviews of Genesis in the Hackett era, and Squire’s Yes. Click through the titles for expanded reviews …
SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: YES: We dig back into deep cuts and favorites from Fragile, Relayer, Drama, and 90125 — including “South Side of the Sky,” highlighted by “Chris Squire’s gurgling bassline. Listen closely: Bill Bruford is also mesmerizing behind the drums. It seems simple but it gathers steam as the song wears on, packing in more twists and turns than seems necessary and yet seems perfectly sensible. Rick Wakeman compliments all of this with organ and, in the breakdown, a beautifully elegant piano line. On top of it all, Jon Anderson’s airy vocals narrate a polar expedition gone tragically wrong.”
ONE TRACK MIND: STEVE HACKETT ON “FIRTH OF FIFTH,” “WHEN THE HEART RULES THE MIND,” OTHERS: Hackett, who’s readying a new collaboration with Yes co-founder Chris Squire, talks about how joining Genesis spurred him to a series of memorable inventions on his instrument. And how one of these pioneering moments would one day help create a signature part of Eddie Van Halen’s high-flying solo sound. We also go inside the brief and stormy collaboration with Steve Howe in the mid-1980s called GTR, and Hackett’s genre-busting return to prog rock in 2009.
YES – FLY FROM HERE: This album is, in many ways, better than it has any right to be. The band even attempts something it hadn’t in decades — a multi-part thematic suite, and to great effect. As always, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White are compact and versatile, expertly facilitating complicated journeys like “Fly From Here Part III: Madman at the Screens,” which switches back and forth from a crunchy stomp to soaring ambiance. And the new singer acquits himself well.
GENESIS – SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND: There’s music I like, music I love, and then there’s music that literally gives me goosebumps. The list of music that falls into the goosebump category is a rather short one: No matter how many times I hear Steve Hackett’s guitar solo on “Firth of Fifth,” the hairs on my arm stand on end and I find myself moved nearly to tears by the emotive beauty of his guitar-tistry.
YES – IN THE PRESENT: LIVE FROM LYON: There was at least one benefit to the departure of Jon Anderson from Yes in 2008: The presence of new lead singer Benoit David immediately opened the door for a rewrite of what had become a very rote setlist. David handles things as well as can be expected on the big Anderson-sung hits here — and that’s really all Chris Squire and Co. were looking for, I suppose. You get a broader sense of what he brings to Yes as it stands today, however, on a churning, metallic fever dream like “Machine Messiah.”
Here’s the complete album tracklisting for the Squackett project:
1. A Life Within a Day
2. Tall Ships
3. Divided Self
5. Sea of Smiles
6. The Summer Backwards
7. Storm Chaser
8. Can’t Stop the Rain
9. Perfect Love Song