- 21 May 20
Nice n' Easy Rhythm n' Blues
Square Pegs have long attained legendary status. Their collective and individual names are whispered wherever musicians (used to) gather, spoken of in reverent terms. Questions and doubts are raised to their human provenance, as it seems to be more a case of Providence. “Are they from outer space, or have they come back to us,” 'musicians' shake their heads as they ask, “from a more evolved future, to show us the error in our inferior technique? “Would you like to buy a guitar?” they continue. “I saw them play last night, and I’m jacking it in.”
What would really sicken you, much like an arsonist setting your house ablaze and then neglecting to shut the gate on the way out, is the ease with which they seem to conjure their magic, their alchemical skill and interplay, which leaves lesser women and men scratching their heads, and cursing their lineage. Take a look at the video clip for their new song 'Thinking Of You', included here as a warning to history.
Why, Colm Quearney’s opening riff and his vocal delivery, which is the very definition of laconic, bordering on catatonic, refuse to even contemplate the breaking of a sweat! Justin Carroll insolently chews a piece of gum as he lovingly strokes his (Hammond) organ. Conor Brady O’Farrell – a man who set his alarm early and was down at the crossroads striking a bargain a full half hour before Robert Johnson even put on his hat – throws in a few complicated looking – and in no way superfluous – chords, just because he can. Naomi MacLeod has no time for any of those bass face shenanigans, the woman has a job to do down at the low end, and that job is going to get done. Hark at Graham Hopkins, stately behind the kit. Of course he could “vary the beat” and “throw in a few fills” but that is the work of lesser lashers, and outside of the remit of a seminal skin striker like himself. Now is not the time for flash. Unless you’re Cian Boylan, that is. His barrelhouse piano break leaves us dreaming of a Saturday night fish fry, with liquor drank from an old fruit jar.
What about the tune? What about the tune?!? It’s a gentle yoke, a distant cousin of Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Daydream’, only with all the jagged edges gaffer taped down with cotton wool, lest any children be playing nearby. The whistling has been removed because, as we all know, if you’re name isn’t Otis Redding or Bryan Ferry, then you’ve no business whistling anywhere near a microphone.
We’ve suffered enough, we’ve taken enough shocks and knocks, and The Pegs know this. Accordingly, they’ve done us a favour, and delivered a lyric that poses no threat and offers no mental challenges. They show us that, despite their divine status, they have not lost the touch of the common man! What rhyme would you use for ‘door’? That’s right, ‘more’! ‘Ringing’? “Singing’! ‘Miles’? ‘Smiles’! They start to lose the run of themselves a bit with ‘socialising’, ‘disguising’, and ‘arising’ – Hey! Slow down, college boy! – but you get the general idea. The song was recorded at the end of last year, which is a good thing, because if they had recorded it last ‘June’, at night, and there was a full ‘moon’…
The Squares have described ‘Thinking Of You’ as “a panacea for these times of uncertainty.” What can be read into this message? A panacea is a universal cure, and this song is for everyman, good for whatever ails ya! But Panacea was also the Greek Goddess of healing. Sure didn’t I tell you at the start that this crew were beyond human! I also mentioned alchemy, and the alchemists of the Middle Ages sought their own panacea, the elixir of life itself! That is what Square Pegs – with this mighty release - have delivered unto us, from their own personal Mount Olympus. We’re only kinda worthy.