For Squirrels

Sony 550, 1995


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


One of the greatest things to ever come out of Florida, period! This Gainesville based band had so much potential ahead of them but their dreams were quickly and tragically dashed. But we’ll get to that in due time.

For Squirrels had a little bit of R.E.M-inspired alt rock, some folk and a lot of angst mixed into one great tasty and zesty stew. Kicking things off, “8:02 PM” might just go down as one of the greatest opening tracks of the last twenty years. It’s a very melodic track that’s very frenzied and heavy at the same time, and it just works on so many levels.

“Orangeworker,” a quasi-ballad, brings more emotion to the forefront, particularly the vocals of Jack Vigiliatura IV, one of the most underrated singers of the whole ‘90s alt rock scene. The intricate and sometimes violent guitar work of Travis Tooke bring Vigiliatura’s words to life and help to lift the whole band out of being generic, the fate of so many other ‘90s rock bands.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Superstar” is one of the heaviest tracks the band ever made and it shows: the crisp production, the audible anger and the thunderous power of the rhythm section of bassist Bill White and drummer Jack Greigo heighten the intensity of the track and quickly made it a fan favorite. “Under Smithville” is another slower song but it’s a good example of the yin and yang of the band’s ability.

“Mighty K.C.” was the single off the record and it is very, very eerie. Written in the aftermath of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, the song is very ebullient but also morose at the same time. The song garnered some airplay but didn’t break through in the way that it should’ve. This writer dares the listener to hear the song and not get goosebumps or start weeping uncontrollably.

“Long Live the King” is the closest to hardcore punk that the band would ever get to. Vicious, ripping and ready for blood, the band plays as hard and heavy as possible until Vigiliatura’s voice just gives way in a bloody fury. Definitely one of the best songs on the record.

“The Immortal Dog And Pony Show” is one of those great tracks that go unnoticed and unheard, which is a shame. Melodic and powerful, it’s another great way of showing how amazing the band truly was. Go back and listen to this record and crank this track! The last three tracks, “Disenchanted,” “Stark Pretty” and “Eskimo Sandune” are not that great, but it doesn’t do anything to diminish the overall power of the record.

Unfortunately, the band’s fortunes were dashed in a heartbreaking accident. One month before the record was due to be released in the fall of 1995, the band was involved in a car accident on their way home to Gainesville when their van flipped in Georgia, killing Vigilatura, White and tour manager Tim Bender. Plunged into tragedy, the album was still released on schedule and the band’s fan base grew modestly. The survivors started anew but the next record was completely the opposite of Example. It’s been nearly twenty years and the album still sounds as great as when it was first recorded. If one is looking for one of those great lost records of ‘90s alt rock, then this is the best possible place to start!

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2014 Pete Crigler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sony 550, and is used for informational purposes only.