CD Title: Esquire III – No Spare Planet
Label: Independent Release (2016)
Rating: Satisfying 3/5
I must admit to being a fan of the music of Esquire from the moment I heard their first album back in 1987. There wasn’t much Progressive Rock influenced music out at the time so I was happy to come across the band’s first album. It took ten years for them to produce a follow-up and now virtually twenty years to produce their third entitled appropriately, Esquire III – No Spare Planet. This is of course the music of multi-instrumentalist Nigel McLaren and Nikki Squire, Chris Squire’s first wife. Without being disrespectful the music of Esquire is what I would consider more Art Rock or perhaps Prog-Lite. The album starts off with the longest track, “Ministry of Life” [8:08] made up of three distinct movements, it is without question the most proggy of the batch but even with the shorter songs, the rest all being in the four minute range there are plenty of interesting musical change-ups. This is music that is mostly major key, melodic and song-oriented that would likely have immediate appeal to fans of bands such as 10cc and Barclay James Harvest. Many of these songs feel a lot like the music Genesis created in their last years. Catchy, hummable compositions with more than a few proggy embellishments sprinkled about that hold up well with repeated listening. In fact it could be argued they get better the more time you spend with them. It is McLaren who handles all the instrument performance and adds vocals to a couple songs, while Squire takes the lead and harmony vocals. The album is dedicated to the memory of Nigel McLaren who passed away in 2015 after having written these tunes. They were the last songs Squire and McLaren wrote together and are a fine legacy for the band’s career. Even after all these years I really enjoy the music of Esquire. Nikki Squire has a unique voice that brings back many memories and the musical composition and performance are first rate. This is a fine example of Art Rock music and I recommend it to fans of the genre.