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4.1 out of 5 stars47
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on 18 June 2012
...This is my Soundtrack for the Summer.

No, of course it's not Voyage of the Acolyte meets Fish Out of Water, as others have rightly implied. Those styles were 37 years ago. More like Hackett's recent albums, with the solid Roger King programming influence - which personally I like, it gives the tracks form. And if you've heard Squire's solo vocal (The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be) - which I thought was a standout track - from last year's Yes album Fly From Here, you'll get the idea.

This is not heavy, intense prog, by any means. It's upbeat, it lifts the spirits. Both Messrs Squire and Hackett have remarried in recent years, so perhaps there is a certain middle-aged contentment that serves as an undercurrent to keep these tracks rocking along most appealingly. And why not? There are Many Sides to the Day.

I've always liked Squire vocals, and Hackett's vocals have improved with age and experience. But it's as if you get three varieties of lead vocal on this album. Each of the latter, plus when they combine (assisted by Steve's sister-in-law on bv's, quite right too) it's like a whole new entity that sounds distinct in its own right - 'Mr Squackett' perhaps.

And let's not forget the utterly delicious lead guitar flourishes of Mr Hackett to add a dash of inventiveness, and the exquisitely seasoned tone of Mr Squire's bass - every note pure quality.

Tasteful booklet design from the meticulous Phil Smee, however I wouldn't have said no to a Roger Dean cover - but that's soon fixed thanks to google and a decent colour printer (whoops).

This is one album review that can definitely conclude with the word... Enjoy.
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on 9 June 2012
The Squackett album was, somewhat misleadingly, advertised as "Genesis Meets Yes". I disagree. Firstly, as I have stated in other reviews, defining Steve Hackett as "like Genesis" or "the former Genesis guitarist" is both untrue and insulting to his vast bulk of work as a solo artist. Neither can Chris Squires contribution be classed as "like Yes" because, though his career is very much tied up in Yes apart from his two solo projects, without the other band members, his work does not always just sound like Yes. Both artists have their own unique styles and personalities which are not, and cannot be, defined by their past affiliations with specific bands or artists. That being said, there are one or two moments on the album that may remind fans of the two legendary prog bands.

Unfortunately for fans of Chris Squire, Steve Hackett very much dominates the album. I love Steves work but I appreciate that fans looking for Squires input may feel a little short changed. The music is invariably interesting and sophisticated and time has obviously been spent crafting and perfecting each one and having listened to this album many times over, I can confidently (and hopefully objectively, though it's up to you to decide if you trust me) say that I do not think there is a single bad track on the album. I apologise because I realise this review is long but I have tried, where possible and appropriate, to include references and comparisons for fans of both Steve Hackett and Chris Squire because they may not always overlap.

A Life Within A Day will remind Hackett fans of his latest album Beyond The Shrouded Horizon and Steve Hackett very quickly takes control of this track. It's quite dark in tone with an interesting string accompaniment. This is the most "prog" song on the album with varying time signatures, extensive guitar solos and bizarre lyrics. It's also the longest at 6 minutes and 35 seconds which gives Steve Hackett plenty of time to shine with very characteristic guitar work. A Life Within A Day is essentially a Steve Hackett song.

Tall Ships is introduced with a short acoustic segment by Hackett but, from then on in, this is Chris Squires show. Squire delivers some uncharacteristically deep vocals and a very funky bass line. It's an eerie piece with a mantra-like chorus sung by Steve Hackett. A great track and quite beautiful. It has the "epic" feel of many of Steve Hacketts more recent songs and the contrast of the verses driving bass line and guitar work with the spiritual feel of the chorus is actually very moving.

Divided Self finds us back in Steve Hacketts territory and may remind some fans of the Highly Strung album. After the last song, the sheer pop-ness of this track comes as a shock. If pressured I might say this was the weakest track on the album but still holds together with very catchy vocals and a great chorus. Apart from contributing to the harmonies on the chorus it's very difficult to find any trace of Chris Squire at all. So far, the music is brilliant but does not feel like a true merging of styles.

Aliens could almost be a missing track from Chris Squires Fish Out Of Water album and, apart from the chorus, Chris Squire handles all the vocals. The music is absolutely beautiful with a stunning combination of keyboards, acoustic guitar and flute work that might remind some listeners of the work Steve Hacketts brother John contributed to the Voyage Of The Acolyte album. Contrary to one of the other reviewers, I think this track is, musically, one of the strongest. It does sound like Chris Squire has taken lyric writing advice from Jon Anderson though and features such gems as "Aliens are only us, only us from the future" and "The day will come, we'll have passports to the sun".

Sea of Smiles is instantly enjoyable and easily my favourite song from this album. Chris Squire fans may be disappointed though as this has Hackett written all over it. Everything from the tinkling percussion to the synthesised harmonies and from the references to gypsies to the brilliant and joyous guitar solos bears Steve Hacketts signature. The lyrics are wonderful and feature Hacketts usual juxtaposition of the mystical and the mundane. Sea of Smiles is the happiest piece and Chris Squire can just about be made out in the harmonies.

The Summer Backwards is the shortest song. It's a nice acoustic piece with keyboard accompaniment. Despite the acoustic guitar from Steve this song feels decidedly Squacketty. The vocals are shared and Hacketts voice and Squires combine perfectly to create some of the most memorable and enjoyable vocal styles I've heard in a long time.The melody may remind Hackett fans of Serpentine Song  and Yes fans of songs from The Ladder.

Stormchaser is the heaviest song and, like the last one, feels Squacketty. It features a great, driving bass line overlaid with Hacketts electric guitar. Another epic with plenty of layers but enough space to make this song feel HUGE. Steve Hackett takes lead vocals but may remind Chris Squire fans of Lucky Seven  though it is darker and heavier.

Can't Stop The Rain feels very much like Chris Squires song. Fans of Steve Hacketts recent work will instantly recognise Amanda Lehmanns vocals on the immediately memorable chorus but this track would not be out of place on the Magnification album by Yes. The bass work makes me think particularly of "In the Presence of..." It's a fairly melancholy song and it's easy to imagine this developing from a jam session. Very catchy chorus

An extended instrumental section bridges Can't Stop The Rain with Perfect Love Song so the transition is barely noticeable. However, Steve Hackett becomes more recognisable on this song which brings back the Squacketty feeling from earlier. The vocals are shared with beautiful harmonies and both artists have left their mark on the lyrics. There's lots of space here for Steve Hackett to show off one last time before it fades out.

All in all, A Life Within A Day is a very enjoyable album with a variety of styles and moods. Fans of both artists will find something they like and recognise. The sound quality is very good and the musicianship is superb throughout. The lyrics are refreshingly intelligent and, while the music is not excessively long, every song is given space to breathe and be explored.

It's a grower and definitely one to play again and again. I sincerely hope Chris Squire can find time to tour this album with Steve. If they did, I would not want to miss it. Enjoy.
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on 1 July 2012
An excellent record not only for any prog fan, but a really good music job !!! The 5.1 version is an ultimate version for High Fidelity listeners...really fine.
Unfortunately the limited edition gatefold LP is a low quality vinyl and it shows some scratches on surfaces...not even the best for a collection item. What a pity...
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on 29 May 2012
Downloaded this and have given it several listens for a fair review.

Firstly through interviews, we were told this was classic Genesis meets Yes. Don't go expecting Dance On A Volcano crossed with Yours Is No Disgrace though which is what I was expecting.
Personally I don't think this meets the mould. I'd personally say it's a bit closer to GTR meets 90125 crossed with some Zeppelin and The Beatles which is no bad thing.
Makes a decent hybrid actually..

A Life Within A Day - Probably the albums most prog orientated track. I'd more say it's Yes crossed with Led Zeppelin with a heavy Kashmir type riff. A fast Yes type
jazzy middle section really lifts this track into the class!!
Tall Ships - Opens with a nice acoustic part from Steve giving way to a bass riff from Squire leading to a chorus that smoothly sails in (excuse the pun). Great track.
Divided Self - Starts with a Beatles type riff from Steve. Basically a pop tune with a nice solo from Steve.
Aliens - This one sticks out like a sore thumb (sorry Chris). The melody and playing is actually quite nice but the lyric just stands out as a bit wierd.
Sea Of Smiles - Good catchy chorus on this one. One of the albums strongest tracks.
The Summer Backwards - Another Beatles(y) type track. Nice one this. Quaint. Seems to finish too early though.
Storm Chasers - The albums 2nd heavy number. A thumping Zeppelin type drum beat with Steve taking lead vocals.
Can't Stop The Rain - Classic Squire on this one. The albums best track for me. Could've sat nicely on Fish Out Of Water 2.
Perfect Love Song - Joined onto the last track. A great riff from Steve. A nice closer.

To sum up a pretty strong album. The production is excellent and the vocals are perfectly layered in. If you enjoyed Beyond The Shrouded Horizon then you'll like this.
To be honest I think fans of Genesis, Yes, Zep and The Beatles would enjoy this.
I'd have preferred them to just stretch the song a little more to let them breath a bit. Some of them you're sitting enjoying and they seem to end too quickly.
At 46 mins you feel that there's 15min missing as we're so used to Cds being about an hour long.
Chris & Steve's vocals do sit nicely together, I think this is one of the many plus points of the album.
Still well worth checking out and I'll be playing this all through the Summer.

Here's to the possible upcoming tour. Hope they do Silently Falling :)
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on 2 December 2012
A birthday present from my kids, and I was very grateful to receive it!

Initially, despite the fact that I had previously listened to samples, and had asked for it as a result, I was not sure what to make of it.

The album was not - initially at least - distinctively what I have come to expect from Hackett. I put that down to the fact that it's a collaboration with Chris Squire. But then, what precisely is it that he brings to the table?

As the proud owner of Fish Out Of Water (Deluxe Expanded Edition) and also Chris Squire's Swiss Choir, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the redoubtable Yes bassist. As someone else has pointed out, it's no good expecting a particular thing based upon the oldish 'Fish out of water', because that was then and this is now.

So perhaps the sign of quality in these collaborations is that you can't tell where one musical contribution ends and another begins? What we get is not distinctively one or the other, although I would say that there are plenty of distinctive Hackettish flourishes, the harmonies and moods are precisely what we've been used to in his albums. And there's some excellent rumbly, arpeggiating base work there, so it's not as if Chris just turned up for the photoshoot.

Overall, I really like it. It's not prog rock as we know it. It's a bit poppy in places, but overall this is a really satisfying album with plenty of excellent new material. Still not sure about those highly processed vocals (now, that is distinctively Hackett!).

Favourite track would be 'Tall Ships' - really great rhythm and compelling riffs, morphing into something rather atmospheric. The transfer from the penultimate track ('Can't stop the rain') into 'Perfect Love Song' is also excellent.

Overall, four stars because I think that this Beyond The Shrouded Horizon deserves five.
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on 15 June 2012
When i first received my copy of Life within a day i played it 5 times in a row.
We have something special here...
In a nut shell, Chris Squire has entrusted his superb writing to the established in-house skills of Hackett and King, and the results when combined with Steve Hackett's own share of the material are outstandingly good.

Steve and Chris enhance each other very well. I don't know what brought this album together?
I suspect it may have been a meeting of personalities?
How ever it happened, each contributor is generous and mutually supportive in equal measure.
It sounds to me like these guys trust and respect each other and that gets us a 5 star album.

Squire and Hackett become Squakett very much thanks to the production/engineering/keyboard talent that is Roger King.

There is plenty of melody, harmony, great lyrics, fantastic playing, intricate and powerful instrumental sections.
Every track simply adds to the whole and there isn't a duff track to be heard.
When it ends you just want to put it on again.
An ever more rare experience these days when it comes to new albums...
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on 26 June 2012
A simple review of the individual product from Steve Hackett and Chris Squire over the (last 40) years is charted with strong melodies and almost apocalyptic themes, so is it little wonder that the first complete offering from these two prog giants gels so well?

There is a range of musical genres represented here, although maintaining the strong rock pedigree supporting these two careers. Of course there is influence from previous works, but these are morphed pretty well and only on a couple of occasions did I actually think that a track sounded from a specific album or period. In fact, for example, I heard more of the sound from Chris Squires 'Conspiracy' work with Billy Sherwood than I did from his Yes days. And never been a fan of Hacketts singing but feel that the harmonising with Squires stronger vocal range worked well.

Will leave detailed track analysis to others but I think this is a pretty strong output and am certainly hoping that they manage to tour with it in the Autumn.
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on 19 February 2013
Yes and Genesis men Chris Squire and Steve Hackett combined their power for the Squackett project. Nice multichannel mix! The record sounds less progressive than 70's or current Yes or Hackett, but still very enjoyable beautiful songs!
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on 28 July 2012
Wherein heritage prog seers Chris (Yes) Squire and Steve (Genesis) Hackett bang heads and bring us `A Life Within A Day' - a title perhaps tilted at the four-year gestation this took to fruition. It's faintly whimsical almost, as is the duo's chosen nomenclature for the project. Hackett Squire? Accountants - or worse, lawyers. Squire Hackett? Too close to BBC TV period drama for safety. The silly Squackett may sound like something served battered with fries but the analogy falls apart fast when you start listening, for this is rich and robust stuff that doesn't trade on former glories. Yes, there are nods over the shoulder to the sound that respectively trademarked two great bands, but the focus is very much on creating something fresh, contemporary to the current shapes and forms of the genre rather than reformatting the past. Opener title track is ripe with strings, programming and jokey bombast boasting a Hans Zimmerman-like percussive bed over which Squire's thonking basslines share centre stage with some frenzied lead from Hackett worthy of the late Ollie Halsall in full flight (no faint praise). This breathless carousel is succeeded by a well-balanced set ("Divided Self" is so catchily upbeat it's ridiculous; "Sea Of Smiles" is the single) that never flags. Of course its fun to spot the musical markers of their early careers as well as Steve's solo work, not least in vocal harmonising that summons eerily at times a sense that the pipes of Gabriel and Anderson are about open up. Quite where they go next is anyone's guess but, more please. This stands up strong and square against front-line material being released by musicians half their age. It comes in a battery of formats, too: standard CD; limited edition two-disc deluxe edition with hardback cover and 5.1 surround bonus disc, and limited and numbered vinyl (to be filed alongside those treasured old Charisma and Atlantic LPs).
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on 29 October 2012
This disc only came to prove how good the partnership between musicians careers statements. There is always something new to present and good. Incidentally, very good! It's nothing spectacular, but with category and well done. Who is a fan of Yes and Genesis or likes a good progressive rock can not ignore this CD. It is a good appetizer for those who get to know one or the other and then engage in various works that the two have already made in their respective groups or solos or partnerships. There is not one bad track. Worth at least a grade 8.5. Very good!
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