A Faint Glow CD and Digital Download
The sophomore release from former Ivory Library members Jeff Jagielo and Pat Connaughty is quieter and more delicate than their 2006 debut, but no less engaging. The CD starts with three tracks that showcase Squarewave’s stylistic range – fuzzy dance pop, spooky psychedelica and slow-burning guitar rock. “Air into Need” recalls Killing Moon-era Echo & the Bunnymen, but by the time the sixth song kicks in, A Faint Glow locks into a down-tempo, contemplative mood. Once there, Squarewave use electric guitar jams to stake out a hungry, searching sound. Connaughty and Jagielo co-wrote all the tracks, and the strength of their collaboration is a knack for transforming compositions into swirling ambient soundscapes. For those who spent the ’80s and ’90s plugged into Ivory Library, Squarewave are like rediscovering a long lost friend. For the uninitiated, they are a local band not to be missed.
Rich Albertoni, Isthmus
Pop Culture Press, Fall Winter 2007 Squarewave’s Jeff Jagielo once led a great underground band from Madison, Wisconsin called Ivory Library who made solemn and gorgeous rock music perfectly suited for the long Upper Midwestern winter. They released a couple of stellar records on tiny labels during the ’90s while flirting with bigger indies but never got to make the big jump and disbanded in the late ’90s. Last year, Jagielo and Pat Connaughty (who was in one of the later Ivory Library lineups) re-emerged as Squarewave and released Dullhead. With the addition of Brandon Smith as full-time drummer and a batch of excellent songs, A Faint Glow surpasses Dullhead, which is not to discount the quality of that record at all; this new one is just that good. Jagielo has always managed to work effectively in melancholy mid-tempo rock, which is dangerous territory for a lot of musicians. He sings in a hushed, fragile voice that is plaintive without being mopey, and even on the longer and more adventuresome songs, he still has a keen ability to find a good hook in the form of a chorus or guitar riff. Connaughty’s songs serve as the perfect counter-weight for Jagielo’s. They are equally as melodic and aching but different in approach as well as voice. And like the cover of Chris Bell’s “I Am the Cosmos” on Dullhead, this time they deliver another splendid version of another band’s song in their version of Love Spit Love’s “Half A Life.” Who knows how much Boat Records can push Squarewave, but there is a receptive audience out there waiting to welcome a record as good as A Faint Glow. – Andy Smith