Esquire featuring Nikki Squire, “Ministry of Life” (2016): One Track Mind

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Yes co-founder and leading-light Chris Squire left an undisputed musical legacy with his untimely passing in 2015. There were already two bands playing his music on tour – Yes, and Anderson Rabin Wakeman – while hand-picked replacement Billy Sherwood also recently played songs co-written with Squire.

Now comes the release of “Ministry of Life” from Esquire – the band Nikki Squire, Chris’ first wife, formed back in 1983. Though Nikki Squire sung on Chris Squire’s 1981 single “Run Like a Fox” and his stellar 1975 solo album Fish Out of Water, she is in no way resting on her laurels or her ex-husband’s name. As the title of the album suggests, Esquire III: No Spare Planet is the band’s third album – and it finds them in fine prog form.

“Ministry of Life,” the lead single from Esquire III, incorporates a probing rhythm and prominent bass and drum, with Nikki Squire’s unique, ethereal approach with the lyric. Written with the band’s late co-founder Nigel McLaren, the song utilizes contemporary and analog synthesizer sounds, intertwined with a tight backbeat to support Squire’s vocals.

A mid-song modulation provides a captivating progressive element, which is then buoyed by tasty guitar and bass interplay. Additionally, the harmony vocals at the middle bridge on “Ministry of Life” strongly hint at the classic Chris Squire/Jon Anderson interplay.

Lyrically, the track is spry and optimistic. At more than eight minutes, it’s a fine progressive rock song that seems shorter than its running time suggests. “Ministry of Life” is an excellent preface for what’s coming on Esquire III: No Spare Planet. Stay tuned …

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