The World Is Square
Square are a band of epic scale and melody. Their EP, ‘The World Is Square’ is a punk-prog blend of storytelling and damn fine instrumental work. Think Rush meets Metallica. The EP is a groaning and shouting example of what great instrumental work can do when paired with creative lyrics and standout vocals. The songs sing of a square Earth, oceans and great adventures, all the while giving us a melodic masterclass in rock. Square are a band that I feel we all need. Injecting some creativity and an emphasis on imagination into the prog-rock world. Too often do these genres that deal in 6 string basses and double-kick drum sets get lost in the dark. Pleading, through lyrics, for hell and the end of the world. ‘The World Is Square’ breaks the norm. It’s nature, it’s society, it’s beasts and knights and it’s fantastic.
The album opens with its title track ‘The World Is Square’. Discordant guitar chords rattle on the open. Strings soar into the sky with a strange harmony as the song begins. A call to action, a call to arms. The drums tip tap and plunge into a deep beat that is complex and meets the pace of the bass, guitar and strings in the middle. A clash of the musical ages and it's a wondrous sound. Calamitous and rich, the song sways with tempo and pace, but the attitude remains as composed and cool as ever. Bass and guitar play scaling melodies that slide into new sections effortlessly. Brass joins the band and the sound grows ever more. When the vocals join in the story begins. They sit atop the rock-played throne and sing with clean crisp vocals, allowing the instrumental to breathe beneath. A thrilling and intense opener. It succeeds at grabbing your attention and then, wham, onto the next.
‘Afternoon Tea’ is guitar forward at the start with a 70s metal-style intro, a solo guitar stands atop a hill-crest and plays a riff to rile the masses. A shout, “TEA TIME” brings on the blues. Drums skitter to life, a note rings out as the bass begins its ascent and the song climbs to a crescendo of ever-growing magnitude. It's rock and roll, it's a happy jive and it’s a bit of Rush. Those complicated timings add so much flavour to the track and some experimental vocal work make ‘Afternoon Tea’ a must-listen for any prog fan. There’s nothing not to love. A cracking riff, melody-hungry bass, drums that fill the air and vocals that push through the sonic screen and talk you to oblivion. Great track. Especially the deeper rock that closes into some slow jazzy chords in the latter half.
Unfortunately, ‘Tides’ is the last song on ‘The World Is Square’. It doesn’t disappoint. Its bass-rich open homes a riff worthy of an award. Mix that with some amazing drums and wailing guitars that echo and bounce around the vocal harmonies and ‘Tides’ is a winner. It has quieter plucked sections that break up the massive noise of the bass-heavy middle. It's a song that reels you in. Pulls you hard then backs off, only to come around for a second bout, and win you over in the final round. I wish there was more on ‘The World Is Square’ as Square as a collective has created a sound that speaks to so many of us. It's punchy, it’s fun and it's played with passion; that, above all else, is what I believe makes Square great. Anyone could play these songs, they need simply to learn them. You’ll get the chords you’ll get the lyrics and off you go. But there’s no one out there that could ever make it sound like Square. Rock on prog heroes! We hear you.