Squeal - Long Pig

Long Pig

Released:
1995, One World Entertainment, WOND133

Website:
Squeal

Tracks:

  1. Killing the light
  2. Runners
  3. Candy
  4. Believer
  5. Hide
  6. See Saw
  7. Bury the Body
  8. Go Well
  9. Cry
  10. Come Brother

Musicians:

  • David Birch: Guitar & vocals
  • Brett Barnes: Bass
  • Craig Nash: Drums

Review:

Squeal's first album is sinewy, athletic rock stripped down to fighting weight, it's as pure as rock gets. Though a trio, Squeal is a big band whether emotional and slow or racing along at full strength. Dave Birch (guitar, vocals, and songwriting), Brett Barnes (bass), and Craig Nash (drums) make music that satisfies in the long run.

But don't think that because this is only a rock trio that these songs are simplicity amplified. Squeal's songs have agile variety as well as muscles.

'Long Pig' starts off medium-tempo, throws us into 'Runners', and in the course of the album gives us melodies, crisp guitar work, throbbing bass, and determined back-beating. Birch's strong voice is the perfect vehicle for delivering these powerful songs.

Then 'Long Pig' slams into the loping 'Bury the Body', eases into a few fine, albeit slower, numbers, then bursts into a rollicking bonus track for the big finish. The bonus is an anthem of mountains and valleys, a dragon's back and Olifant Valley song.

Some songs follow either the accepted rock method of slow-fast-slow-fast, or the equally respectable soft-loud-soft-loud method. 'Runners' and 'Go Well' are two such. Other numbers grab one's attention and thrash it around, as do 'Killing the Light', 'Believer', 'Bury the Body', and 'Candy'.

'Bury the Body' is my favorite tune on the disc, though 'Candy' also sticks to my mind. It was the single from the CD and also appears on the first '5FM Showcase' compilation. But Squeal is one of my favorite South African rock bands so any favorite songs have aggressive competition.

I don't pretend to always understand Birch's lyrics ("You might as well go find a dog/ And ask it what the chickens said"?!). The ones I can't penetrate do seem to be about something, though, and I see glimmers of sense. Whether I understand them or not, Birch's lyrics contain profound images and catchy lines -- which profundity does not at all interfere with the forward push of the tune, driven along by guitars and drums.

This is pure rock, lean and powerful, Squeal-style.

Kurt Shoemaker, SA Rockdigest#99, March 2001

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All info supplied by John Samson, October 2002


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