The Upshot: A perpetual musical matrimony that satisfies their rabid fans and more.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Never mind that Squeeze has become the branding for any effort involving the band’s two principals, Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook, or that the rest of the group consists mainly of hired hands. And forget the fact that since their original demise in the ‘80s — and their second dissolution in the late ‘90s — they’ve reconvened repeatedly, making for more sad goodbyes and torrid returns than practically any other band in pop history. Difford and Tilbrook’s rocky relationship makes them modern music’s equivalent of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton when it comes to break-ups and make-ups, all part of a perpetual musical matrimony that not only seems to bring them satisfaction, but their rabid fans as well.
Happily then, each new reunion effort reaffirms the fact that they’re not only a proverbially British band when it comes to sound and sensibility, but that they’re also well entitled to the mantle many have bestowed on them as the X generation’s equivalent of Lennon and McCartney. Happily too, Cradle to the Grave, their latest album and first studio effort in five years, bears this out in no uncertain terms. Packed with the usual effusive sentiment and a prerequisite bounty of joy and exuberance, it apparently took form as a soundtrack they were commissioned to write for a UK television program of the same name prior to it evolving into a stand-alone album that ranks among the best efforts of their collective careers. Suffice it to say those looking for an album on the order of early Squeeze classics like Argybargy or East Side Story won’t be disappointed. Packed with winsome melodies, joy and jubilation (made all the more expressive by titles like “Nirvana,” “Beautiful Game,” “Sunny” and the all too appropriate “Top of the Form”), Cradle to the Grave is a stunning example of the brilliance Difford and Tilbrook seemingly command at their fingertips, replete with instantly accessible songs that immediately lodge in the cranium even on first hearing. While the band’s early albums are essential, this, as the title suggests, isn’t a bad place to begin.
DOWNLOAD: “Nirvana,” “Beautiful Game,” “Sunny”