/A Tighter Knot
"The terrific new Squarewave record confirms what I have known for some time. Namely that Jeff Jagielo and Pat Connaughty are creating sophisticated and original, one-of-a-kind psychedelic folk-rock. I started working with Jeff at Smart Studios nearly 30 years ago as the producer of his then band Ivory Library. From the beginning the music was mysterious, ethereal, sometimes heartbreaking and instantly identifiable. A Tighter Knot updates that vision, it's brilliantly recorded, with layered guitar playing and ambitious, near epic production. It’s as good as anything out there."
Squarewave's A Tighter Knot
Artisanal Rock from the American North
Deep in the heart of the forests of central Wisconsin, just up the road from Freedom and not far from Pray, Wisconsin, noticed by few and heard by almost none, two musicians have been quietly writing and recording a musical masterpiece in their garage studio.
The musicians, Jeff Jagielo and Pat Connaughty, call their band Squarewave. And the fruits of their labor is their new record A Tighter Knot. Nearly 10 years ago the then unknown Justin Vernon retreated to a winter hunting cabin in the Wisconsin woods and emerged with Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago. Now Squarewave has stepped out of the isolation of the northern hinterlands to record and produce one of the best rock albums in many many years.
It’s not quite like anything you’ve heard.
Moody, mysterious, and ethereal, at once angry, driving and then passionately mournful, Squarewave’s A Tighter Knot belies easy comparisons to music that has come before. Moving seamlessly between folk-rock, psychedelic neo-grunge, prog-rock and buoyant pop—sometimes in the same song—the music is intense, complex and kaleidoscopic—a shimmering, densely woven tapestry of hooky chiming electric guitars, synthesizers and resounding, pleading and sometimes spooky, voices.
A Tighter Knot is filled with songs of love and regret, joy and tranquility, transcendence and rage. Like the looming forests and woodlands that surround Squarewave’s studio in Wautoma, the music is immutable, organic and quietly stands alone, as if it has been here forever.
It is hard to fully describe—and that’s the beauty and power of Squarewave. Upon each listening you hear something new, a guitar figure, a reverberating vocal, a synthesized sound wave you missed the first time through.
It begs for repeated listening—the mark of a mature, classic work of art.
For those who entertain comparisons, there are glimpses of Spiritualized, Bon Iver, Radiohead, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Muse, Wishbone Ash, the Volcano Choir, Cocteau Twins and Robyn Guthrie, the Psychedelic Furs, the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, even late-era Lou Reed.
But really, the sound is all in the ears of the beholder. A Tighter Knot is a work of mysterious lasting beauty that is well worth taking the time to unravel.