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THE GRUMPY UNCLES OF BRITPOP
on 19 March 2008
Squeeze's final record for A&M in 1995. 'Ridiculous' saw the band at their most polished and mainstream and, following the glorious 'Some Fantastic Place', they once again had the critics on side. The likes of Blur & Elastica were citing Difford & Tilbrook as influences, and their Beatles/Kinks sound had never been more 'hip'.
Of course the problem was that the band had been around for nearly 20 years and, despite releasing consistently well received material, they were, at the end of the day, a bunch of media shy blokes pushing 40 with a record company rapidly losing interest.
Which makes this record even more of a gem - simply because it has some great songs on it, and at least two outright D&T classics. It's overlong and could have done with some pruning 'Sound Asleep' and 'Fingertips' are lazy filler, but the sound is clear and the arrangements, as always, inventive.
'Electric Trains' is a wonderful opener with the second best Difford lyric of the 90's (SFP wins that accolade), and the Beatlesque hit single 'This Summer' is still impossibly catchy. 'Grouch Of the Day' is a bouncing John Lennon homage, 'I Want You' a lovely slowbulding blinder with a tremendous Tilbrook vocal and 'Temptation For Love' a beautiful duet with songstress Cathy Dennis. Bassist Keith Wilkinson also comes up trumps with the fine 'Got To Me' and Difford gives a great vocal performance on the dancey 'Longface'.
The star of the show though is 'Daphne' an oddball little song that manages to be both moving and funny at the same time. It sums up Squeeze in 4 minutes - they never took themselves too seriously and never dumbed down for their audience.
There aren't many extras of note on this reissue except for 'This Road' which sees the basic chord structure and backing track of 'Electric Trains' in it's original form. Where is the magnificent 'Periscope' or the catchy 'Sweet As A Nut' - and why no single edit of 'Heaven Knows' ?
Still as swangsong albums go this is one of the best - (lets just ignore Domino).