Exposé Online banner

Squonk Opera — Howandever
((Not on label) no#, 1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-11-01

Howandever Cover art

Ready for something different and very original? First off, forget the Squonk, it's not a reference – these guys sound nothing like Genesis! In fact they are a totally new six-piece from the Pittsburgh area, and if you're lucky they might be playing in your town soon. Fronting the lineup is vocalist Kate Aronson, who has a distinct and unique style, maybe vaguely reminiscent of Suzanne Lewis of Thinking Plague and Hail. The remaining five play piano, keyboards, saxes (there's the squonk!), bass, wind-synth, Celtic flute, drums, tabla, and other percussion. Influences come from all over the place; elements of jazz, rock, Celtic, Broadway, classical, flamenco, funk and avant-garde blend together into a very fertile stew of mind-opening ideas. Since every track is quite different from all others, it's difficult to sum their sound up in a few sentences. They do cover a lot of ground here, from the folky abstractions of "Dance of the Seven Vowels," the dreamy introspection of "Parts," the funky-rapping style of "Whistle and Spit," to the Broadway styled "The Unusual Mrs.Spitz." I hear those occasional echoes of Dead Can Dance, the second edition of However, Third Ear Band, and several other equally vague comparisons. In all, this is a band with their own unique vision, one certainly worth checking out. Recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 8, 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Squonk Opera

Latest news

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Masque - Ten Ways – This is the second offering by the Swedish five-piece Masque. This is a major improvement over their debut from '91, which seemed too derivative of Saga and other 80s neo-proggers. Here they have...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues