Title - 'No Spare Planet'
Artist - Esquire III
In case you were wondering, Esquire is a London based rock band formed by Nikki Squire, the ex-wife of Chris Squire from Yes, and debuted on the Geffen label. The band then followed up with a second album in 1997 called Coming Home and this brand new album, No Spare Planet finally completes the Esquire trilogy.
The band (and, let's be honest, that's a rather brilliant name for a band thereafter from the ex Squire!) has championed a unique and sophisticated sound and they straddled traditional music boundaries and essentially unleashed an innovative style of progressive rock that was varied, accessible and modern.
An Esquire album is an event, a rare occasion when fans receive new music and this, Esquire III comes two decades after the last album and brings the band right up to date.
Having now listened to both the first two albums, you can tell from the lyrics that Squire was definitely soul-searching, as she is here again on the end-of-trilogy album No Spare Planet. From what I can garner through the years, she wanted to write and sing her own songs, but didn't, at the time, know how that could happen. She needed other players to work with, but with all the people she knew already more than established, that meant their work schedules were booked.
Listening to this third album, it seems Squire is more happier in her own skin, not replying on others that might have been able to help her, should their schedules open up. The first track is the transcendent "Ministry of Life" and that's backed by the more pop-like "She Said", the Annie Lennoxesque "Human Rhythm", the smooth vibe of "Tonight" and the gentle Peter Gabrielesque "Friends & Enemies".
In truth, listening to this new album there is still something magical and mysterious about Esquire. However, given that this third studio album is a collection of the last songs that Squire wrote with her long term collaborator, co-writer, bass player and best friend Nigel McLaren (who sadly passed away on Sunday 7th June 2015), the spiritual undercurrent might just be what is propelling it also.
The soaring "It's Over" is next, and that's backed by the eclectic "Where Is the Love", before the album wraps up with the beautiful "Stay Low", and then finally the stunning, and best track on the album, "Heaven Blessed".
In conclusion, No Spare Planet is just as good as you had hoped it would be. Combining a unique and sophisticated sound, straddling traditional music boundaries and essentially unleashing an innovative style of modern day prog rock, Esquire are as good today as your memory deems to remind you back when they released their self-titled album in 1987.