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

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Distant Dream - A New Beginning – Here’s something out of left field: a big concept album from a new, unknown band. And in this context, “concept album” should be taken as something more like I, Robot (or even Phantom of the...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues