Dove into the old CD bin to uncover one of my favorite, underrated albums of all time, Example by For Squirrels. It is one of my favorite albums overall but I thought I would bring attention to the fact that few people remember or even heard of this band in the first place. Part of the reason is that they officially broke up sometime around ’96. Right before this album was released, the group suffered a tragic accident in which two of the members and their manager were lost. It was inspiring that they kept the band together after this in order to honor the memory of their band mates. I am one of many of their fans who knows this band could have been big. This album is a testament to their talent as a group and all the success that would have followed.
1. 8:02pm (10/10)
This is the one that got me into this group. I vaguely remember hearing this while riding in my brother’s car. I wouldn’t have been very old and my music taste was questionable for sure; but this stuck out to me for whatever reason. And that reason would be that it’s fucking great. For longest time I thought it was actually 8:02am and it made sense to me because it had a energizing, upbeat feel to it that would coincide with someone at 8:02 in the morning. Turns out I was wrong about that and it is in fact 8:02PM…everything about this song is killer: the intro is the best part followed by a close second in the fitting chorus. Simply put, if you had to epitomize the word “cool” this song would definitely be in the running.
2. Orangeworker (9/10)
A much slower, relaxing track by this grunge group is “Orangeworker”. Starts out with a little piano, ends with a lot of awesomeness. It appears to be a song about labor. The piano coming in and exiting throughout the song is what makes it stick out to me. It will sometimes be the feature and it can also complement the chorus (@1:54). Vocalist Jack Vigliatura does one his best vocal performances on this track in my opinion. His grit displayed in the chorus combined with the ooo’s at the end make for good balance.
3. Superstar (9.5/10)
This was fresh take on grunge when this came out. Not many of the earlier grungesters were really willing to bellow out and do much screaming in their songs. Perhaps it was viewed as something that hair metal bands did, which is what they were most trying not to be like (thank you). Vigliatura and his band mates showed that you can still go crazy as a vocalist and have it sound presentable as long as there is still smooth, quality instrumentals. That’s the case here. The lyrics are a little repetitive but that doesn’t take away from what a great track this is. See for yourself
4. Mighty KC (9/10)
If you have heard only one song by this group, it is most likely this one. The song gained some notoriety and radio play due to the connection between the title and Kurt Cobain. I don’t see the connection when looking at the lyrics other than some sort of suffering. Most of us know that Kurt was in pain for the majority of his career despite his success and the impact he left on the rock industry. The chorus changes tune and carries an optimism that suggests that things are headed in a new direction thanks to his contribution. An epic tune that best captures the essence of the early 90’s.
5. Under Smithville (8/10)
Under Smithville is a fun little track that appears to be the only song about relationships on this album (fine by me). It features a lot of crisp guitar playing and a large mix of vocals. Vigliatura goes from very cutesy type singing to straight up whaling which works rather well. A very listener friendly song it is.
6. Long Live the King (9/10)
It’s hard for me to think of a bigger contrast between consecutive songs on an album than “Under Smithville” and this song. It starts off fast and disjointed. The vocals come in unexpectedly and provide little clarity to what Vigliatura is singing about. I disliked this song pretty strongly the first few listens, was an automatic skip for sure.
After awhile, I learned to appreciate this song for what it really is: a fun mash-up with some kick ass screaming vocals. It’s hard for me to not get psyched up and sing along when Vigliatura yells out “I love you!” (@ 2:52). For Squirrels goes punk and they do it with excellence.
7. The Immortal Dog and Pony Show (6.5/10)
While I really like the title of this song, it ends up being something else. This is probably my least favorite song on the album. It does have some buzz worthy guitar playing but nothing else really sticks out to me. The vocals do build up to a climax at the end but they don’t really do it for me otherwise.
8. Stark Pretty (9/10)
Along the lines of “Under Smithvile” but more innovative and thoughtful. Definitely more obscure, it does feature a short and peppy chorus followed by a tropical-sounding guitar solo (@1:47). Vigliatura delivers more of his excellent sounding screaming lyrics toward the end. There’s also some tight cymbal playing action during the chorus (yep, I just used some bro language to comment on the cymbals) This song gets a huge thumbs up from me.
9. Disenchanted (8/10)
For Squirrels goes ballad on us with “Disenchanted”. Maybe an exaggeration but I can’t get into this song. Other than high quality vocals in the chorus (but with lyrics that say little, however) this seems like an attempt for the group to get serious. While it is completely necessary for it to be on the album to maintain variety and because of the instrumental work that went into it, it ends up being a miss for me because it doesn’t represent what For Squirrels is…(and I absolutely hate the lyric “Will we ever drink milk from a fountain”. what the hell does that have to do with anything?)
10. Eskimo Sandune (7/10)
I’m surprised they chose to end the album with this song. “Disenchanted” seemed like a better fit. “Eskimo Sandune” is a short and almost creepy track. It paints a picture of a more gloomy or surreal type of setting. I fail to comprehend the lyrics and am left thinking nothing other than…hmmm, after hearing.
That said, give this album a listen or two and worst-case scenario, you had to endure a lot of gritty bellowing. Best-case scenario, you’ll find an illustrious album that has unlimited replay value.