Squeeze Official A&M Biography
To call Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook masters of a thousand melodies is to do them a discredit. Since embarking on what's become one of the most fruitful partnerships in the history of pop songwriting neatly twenty years ago, the duo has written well over 1000 songs together. But seldom havethey been as perfectly synchronized as on Some Fantastic Place. Squeeze's twelfth album - and a triumphant return to A&M.
"For the first time ever, we sat down in the same room and wrote most of the songs together," Difford say of the album's eleven compositions. "That was a new track for us to go, down. We've always written very individually and privately in the past."
Some Fantastic Place, in fact, marks a number of milestones in the annals of Squeeze - foremost among them, the return of Paul Carrack, whose soulful vocals and mellifluous organ playing were last heard on, 1981's East Side Story (wherein he took the spotlight for the international smash "Tempted"). While Carrack's singing has won critical and public acclaim on an array of solo projects and work with Mike + The Mechanics, Difford is quick to point out that he's far more than just another, pretty voice.
"We'd been doing some low-key, gigs with Paul and we rediscovered how great it was to play with him. It's not just his voice but his playing. He's really an incredible player," says Difford. "Asking him to come back on board was the obvious choice, really. Basically, it's been two years of logical things to do - it's just like getting out of bed."
While Difford makes it sound simple, Some Fantastic Place is that rarest of pop beasts--at once dizzyingly complex and immediately infectious. As always, there's a solid grounding in pure rock 'n' roll: take the rollicking "Third Rail" (based upon a: railway station lovers' spat Difford witnessed) and the finger-popping charmer (and also the first single) "Everything in the World," all buoyed by the crisp, propulsive drumming of Pete Thomas, who spent many years as part of Elvis Costello's Attractions.
Some Fantastic Place (produced by Pete Smith and Squeeze, and mixed bv Bob Clearmountain) is likewise awash in the lush melodies and wry, keenly honed lyrics that have endeared Difford and Tilbrook to millions of pop aficionados. The torchy Carrack-sung "Loving You Tonight" is sure to become a romantic favorite, while the evocative, cinematic title track, which carries special resonance for its authors, may be Squeeze's most poignant song to date. "It's written in memory of a girl called Max who brought Glenn and I together 20 years ago through seeing an ad in a shop window that I'd placed," explains Difford. "She sadly died this past year, and this is something we both needed to do to say farewell."
Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook first met in the early '70s, thanks to that advertisement. By 1974, when the first Squeeze line-up included keyoardist Jools Holland, bassist Harry Kakouli and drummer Gilson Lavis) hit London's pub-rock circuit, they already had an incredible backlog of material. And as a deluge of early releases-beginning with their self-titled 1978 debut--displayed, that portfolio was to contain some of the purest pop in many a year.
Songs like "Take Me I'm Yours," "Up The Junction" and "Cool For Cats" (the latter two from the 1979 LP Cool For Cats) kicked off Squeeze's long-standing residency in the British Top 10. As the decade turned, Argybargy saw the group reach a new level of musical maturity - on songs like "If I Didn't Love You" and "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)." Thanks in part to their relentless touring (over the years, they've circled the globe 23 times), Squeeze solidified their hold on the hearts of American pop fans with a pair of collections - the Elvis Costello-produced East Side Story and 1982's exuberant Sweets From A Stranger. But despite the worldwide success, the band decided, in November 1982, to call it a day.
Difford and Tilbrook continued their partnership, however, recording one eponymously-titied album as a duo, and overseeing the creation of Labelled With Love, a musical based on their songs. It took just one electrifying one-off show--with bassist Keith Wilkinson and original drummer Gilson Lavis--to show the pair that there was still plenty of life in Squeeze. The band closed out the '80s with a pop trifecta with as big a payoff as any of their work: Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti (1985), Babylon And On (1987) and Frank (recorded in 1989 with original keyboardist Jools Holland).
Some Fantastic Place is, in many ways, a back-to-basics album for Squeeze. But as they've proved for nearly two decades, when you put the basics in the right hands, there's no limit to the glorious creations that will materialize.
"We always work best when we keep things simple," insists Difford. "And I think that shines through on this album. We know that in the end, it really does come down to the singer and the song."
Contributed by Craig E. Moore.
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