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

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Horace X - Strategy – When last I heard from Horace X, back in 2003 with Sackbutt, I found their eclectic mishmash of influences both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, they didn’t really sound like anyone else; on...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues