John Squire

Time Changes Everything

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This debut solo album was John Squire's first proper release since the only record put out by his painfully mediocre traditional rock band, The Seahorses, in 1997. Though no one doubted his great potential for songwriting, Squire's protracted musical lull and disappointing '90s output didn't exactly set expectations sky-high upon the release of Time Changes Everything.

The album was no disappointment. It can be compared with The Stone Roses' swan song Second Coming, especially on the folkier tracks such as "Tightrope" and "Your Star Will Shine Again." The big difference is, of course, the vocals. Let there be no doubt: the singing on this record isn't pretty. Squire croons dementedly throughout the whole album, resembling several other distinctive vocalists such as Peter Perret of The Only Ones, Bob Dylan, and David Bowie. Sometimes, when he restrains his vocal escapades or if the track is particularly wild, the singing works splendidly; on a few other occasions it clearly weakens the album. Lest one forgets, this is a man who took up singing shortly before turning 40 -- don't judge him too harshly.

The production is altogether exquisite, giving Time Changes Everything a fittingly warm, organic, early-'70s sound; hammond organ, mellotron, and Fender Rhodes are features throughout the whole record. It is mainly due to his brilliance as a guitarist thatJohn Squire has attained legendary status -- and we get to hear several flashes of his brilliance here; he has, thankfully, restrained himself considerably since the guitar-narcissism that was dominant on his two most recent releases; the guitar textures now beautifully fitting the songs; not the other way around. Lyrically, Squire plays the eloquent bard -- possessed by sageness and telling fragmentary and esoteric tales containing various allusions to The Stone Roses.

This album is in no way without flaws. Nevertheless, it's good and utterly likeable folk-rock in the vein of early-'70s Dylan and Rolling Stones. The best songs are the melancholic title track, the great pop song "All I Really Want," and the tranquil, beautiful album closer, "Sophia."

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