“Squeeze” by Squeeze - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1978Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Debut album from the London five-piece, jokingly named after the oft-derided fifth Velvet Underground LP. Are they a tribute or are they taking the piss? Frankly, I can't tell from this patchy offering, I wouldn't be surprised if they dig that awful LP of '73. They line-up: Chris Difford (23, rhythm guitar, vocals), Glenn Tilbrook (20, lead guitar, vocals), Jools Holland (20, keyboards), Harry Kakoulli (~23, bass) and Gilson Lavis (26, drums). At the production helm is John Cale, who presides over proceedings as if he's the group leader. How bizarre. Glenn Tilbrook recalled:

Squeeze wasn’t really very representative of what we were doing at the time. When we worked with John Cale in the studio, he threw out all the songs that we had written. When most bands make their first album, they go in and do a lot of stuff that’s been going down well in their sets; well, that wasn’t the case with us. He told us to write new songs – which we did. He was an inspirational guy to work with, but I felt that it was almost like we were writing for what he wanted rather than what the band itself was. When you’re in a position to be making a first album, it’s (A) awe-inspiring to be making an album, and (B) difficult to assert yourself against somebody who knows the ropes.

Side one is mildly interesting, but nothing special until “Take Me I'm Yours” appears, like a dazzling jewel being discovered in a bag of marbles. All of a sudden, they're apart from the pop-rock also-rans, headlong into a new gold dream, with a finger-on-the-pulse feel for the cool new wave. Their first-ever release, it had been chosen as the lead single in February, 1978, and rose to #19 in the UK, giving the group that all-important exposure on Top of the Pops, the best leg up a British band could get in those days. Tellingly, they dumped Cale for this one and produced it themselves. The group's main songwriting partnership, Difford & Tilbrook, sang it together, unveiling their famous technique of keeping one octave apart, Difford the lower, Tilbrook the higher. Smart first impressions were made. The follow up, “Bang Bang”, was the second of the album's two songs to be produced by the band themselves; it seems they were at least keen to have their singles represent what they were all about. But what was that exactly? This sounds cheap like Slade or some such pop-glam trash. For sure, a mis-step after the first release, and the record-buying public didn't fancy it half as much, the single stalling at #49. The two singles kinda sum it all up really… a frustrating debut album.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:21] 5.5.png Squeeze - Sex Master (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
A2 [02:04] 5.0.png Squeeze - Bang Bang (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) Punk
A3 [04:14] 5.2.png Squeeze - Strong In Reason (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) New Wave
A4 [03:49] 5.5.png Squeeze - Wild Sewerage Tickles Brazil (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook, Jools Holland, Harry Kakoulli, Gilson Lavis) New Wave
A5 [04:44] 5.1.png Squeeze - Out Of Control (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) New Wave
A6 [02:51] 9.1.png Squeeze - Take Me I’m Yours (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) New Wave
B1 [05:17] 5.8.png Squeeze - The Call (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) Proto-Punk
B2 [02:59] 4.3.png Squeeze - Model (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) Rock
B3 [02:51] 4.4.png Squeeze - Remember What (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) Pop
B4 [03:43] 4.0.png Squeeze - First Thing Wrong (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) Rock
B5 [03:45] 3.1.png Squeeze - Hesitation (Rool Britannia) (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) Rock
B6 [02:06] 5.5.png Squeeze - Get Smart (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly

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