By 1982 Squeeze were one of the biggest of the New Wave bands, in both the UK and America, and had enjoyed consistent critical and commercial success for 4 years. The song writing axis of Difford & Tilbrook was being championed as the new Lennon & McCartney and their last long player, Eastside Story, had received brilliant reviews and spawned a top 5 single.
Their record company, A&M, were keen on releasing a new record as quickly as possible so as to capitalise on their latest US success and to consolidate the bands high profile positon in Britain.
The resulting album, with new keyboardist Don Snow, was a mixed bag of slick pop/rock, poorly realised arrangements and too little preparation. Many of the songs suffered from an over - reliance on modern technology and as such there is dated feel to SFAS that is missing from most of the rest of their back catalogue (see also Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti).
But this being Difford & Tilbrook there are at least four truly great Squeeze songs - 'I've Returned' is a energenic power popper with a stunning Difford lyric and a tight band performance, 'Tongue Like A Knife' is a wonderfully orchestrated and near literal tale of infedelity, 'Elephant Ride' an accoustic strummer with a Beacboysesque melody and a passionate Tilbrook vocal and 'Black Coffee In Bed' a slick Temptations pastiche and massive live favourite.
The rest veers from the sublime - 'When The Hangover Strikes' and 'Points Of View' to the ridiculous - 'Stranger Than The Stranger On the Shore'. It was Squeeze's most polished sounding record to date but the heart and soul so prevalent on previous releases is largely lacking.
Of the extra tracks on this 2008 remastered reissue 'Elaphant Girl' is a spritely and poppy tale of interracial longing (and should have gone on the album propper) and 'Spanish Guitar' a mood piece with a wobbly Difford vocal. The bouncy non album single 'Annie Get Your Gun' also shines in this context - although it's more Monkees than Beatles.
Sweets From A Stranger is by no means a dissaster - it's just not anywhere near as consistent as Argybargy & Eastside Story. The remastering is great though !