You Are Here, the latest CD by Squonk Opera is my first exposure to the band. Itís by far the most progressive based music experience Iíve had in a while. The band incorporates theatrics into their music which to me remains unclassified other than progressive and experimental in nature. Iím sure youíre thinking with a name like Squonk Opera, there's a Genesis connection. Well there isnít any, in fact the band defines "Squonk", as "to make a joyful noise". Oh and they make plenty of joyful noise on this album!
The group is led by Jackie Dempsey (composer, keyboards and accordion) and artist Steve O'Hearn (flutes, sax and synthesizer). Joining them are Christina Acosta (vocals), David Wallace (guitars), Nathan Wilson (bass) and Kevin Kornicki (percussion).
Upon first listen I wasnít sure what to expect but after a few more run throughs, I began to appreciate the music. The pace of the album is filled with mostly mid-tempo melodies combined with Christina Acosta's beautiful angelic soprano vocals. The soundscapes are provided mostly by Dempsey's keyboards. The rest of the musicians add perfectly to the mix without overshadowing others. The end result is the music and not a place to showcase.
The music on You Are Here, remind me of a mostly Celtic style, thus putting it along side such artists/bands as Loreena McKennitt, Mostly Autumn, and Iona. So if those bands are your realm of enjoyment, then Squonk Operaís ďYou Are hereĒ is a must have album.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on April 8th, 2007