Saturday, May 23, 2009
Squeeze formed in the early seventies and had hit their stride when they grouped to record their third album. "Argybargy" is brimming with smart, tightly arranged pop/rock. Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook emerged as UK heavyweight song writing champions, on par with Lennon/McCartney in the melody department (which is two aisles down from housewares and ladies apparel). The strength of the band hinged on Difford's effortless vocals which were expertly supported by Tilbrook's lower harmonies. Jools Holland's inventive work on keys provides the extra spark that lifts the material even higher. Just check out his spot on solo in "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell).
Absolutely brilliant, though this track is surrounded by strong offerings ("Another Nail For My Heart", "If I Didn't Love You") that really make it tough to play favorites. Musicianship is first rate with chord sequences often going to unexpected places, though the hooks are never ditched in favor of experimental meandering. Story telling fare like "Vicky Verky" pulls you in with exceptional, descriptive lyrics that suggest a short TV drama. Much thought went into keeping an energetic pace with uptempo, riff driven selections ("Misadventure", "Farfisa Beat") sequenced seamlessly with more subdued themes.
Powers of continuous creativity were quite high at this point, with Squeeze leading the charge of innovative, late 70s British groups that spurred a second "golden period", emphasizing song craft and substance. Never really catching fire in the US, barring a couple of successful singles, rotating lineup changes and periods of hiatus have not helped their cause. Criminally underrated, they have produced several stellar, full length discs. "Argybargy" is an excellent way to introduce yourself to Squeeze and if you're not a fan, you will be after a few spins.