Physics was never my strong suit in secondary school. Mind you, secondary school in general wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for me either, but suffice to say my focus in those formative years was on the arts more than science. No surprise then, that I didn’t recognize the Einstein reference in the title Spooky Action at a Distance, but what I most certainly did identify with on Frederick Squire’s new album is that distance, whether measured in time or space, is humanity’s best tool for putting life–both the past and present– in perspective.
Spooky Action at a Distance is nine songs, most written over ten years ago when he was living in Dawson City, far from his current life as a husband, father, and mechanical engineering student making music in the basement of his Copper Cliff, ON home, near Sudbury. Though he frames their subject as being about “the ups and downs of a young man in and out of love,” Squire’s performs these compositions with the knowing wink of wisdom and experience. On “Book of Love” he admits “I make mistakes sometimes / I often don’t get it right,” with the honesty that he now wishes his younger self could have experienced. It’s a fascinating artistic experiment when you think about it: these songs are written in the present tense, being sung by their creator in the future, at a distance from when he initially wrote them.
Spooky Action at a Distance is something of a reverse time capsule for Squire’s younger self; reflective at times as on “Spill Your Lungs” (“Maybe I should have mentioned / That I was not built for this kind of loving,”), doling out wistful advice as on “Sweetest May” and the aforementioned “Book of Love”. More recent written songs “Switch the Engineer” and “This Place” round the record out, bringing Squire full circle, home to his present, “a very good place to be”.
Spooky as it may be, it’s most definitely true that life never allows us to go back to the person we once were, but if it were not for where we started out, we’d never get to the place and person we’ve become.