In a perfect world, a band as musically talented as Israel’s Square to Check would be quite famous and popular. Their influences range from other instrumental acts like The Aristocrats and Scale the Summit. These guys are every bit as talented as those bands. The proof is in their latest EP “Stir Fry.”
Nothing can prepare you for the opening track “Spaghetti Champions.” Lior Ozeri gets an award for laying down the best disco bass line in a non-disco song. The song is so upbeat and catchy and a TON of fun. There are even some “space bubble” keyboards that sound like something Ozric Tentacles would do. The song goes all 70s funk after awhile too. This EP is worth it just for this song, it’s THAT good!
“Take Away” is a good way to follow up “Spaghetti Champions.” It’s more serious for sure but the guitar line by Daniel Weiss makes this track. At times his style reminds me of Alan Holdsworth. Plus, I like that the band use minimal to no overdubs, other than some keys or electronics to color the sound a little bit. “Ground Lift” benefits the most from a nice thick synth line that really makes the song climax.
“The Uno” is a nice little jaunt and the closing track “Amens” is a quirky jazz number. The only issue I have is that the mix on these two songs sound very different from the previous 3 tracks and not as rich. Also, both songs are sparse and more laid back. It would have been cool to have the EP end as strong as it started. Granted, that would be very hard to do!
The world needs to keep a close eye on “Square to Check.” In a world full of instrumental excess, Square to Check’s “Stir Fry” is a breath of fresh air that puts musicality and melody before flash and fireworks. Highly recommended!
1. Spaghetti Champions
2. Take Away
3. Ground Lift
4. The Uno