Squeeze @ Greek Theater, 8/13/07
Have you ever wondered what hipsters may have listened to 25 years ago? Tonight at the Greek Theatre, Squeeze performed a career-spanning set that helped answer that question. If there ever was a wrong time for a band to attempt to garner large attention for announcing a reunion, 2007 may be that year. Such is the case for Squeeze who last performed together eight years ago. Factor in that they are touring to support a new “Best of” album, Essential Squeeze, yet this is just the latest in–count ’em–10 compilation albums (not even counting their live “Best of” albums). Only two original members are in this incarnation but they are the primary songwriters, Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford. Both have been concentrating on solo careers in those eight years. Jools Holland, the first founding member to go solo, did not join in the reunion deciding to concentrate instead on his music and TV career.
In their early years, Squeeze stood out from its peers by writing literate pop lyrics in the vein of Elvis Costello with elements in their music harking back to 50’s and 60’s rock n’ roll. Another notable attribute of their sound was Tilbrook’s clear as a bell vocals. Tonight also proved that time has not affected Tilbrook’s wonderful voice one bit. Like many artists who managed to make the transition from the seventies to the eighties, Squeeze had a period where they strayed and conformed to the sound of the 80’s. The prime example of this period was 1985 album Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti, which coincidently was recorded after their first reunion. Although their lyrics suffered on this album, it contained some of their most beautiful music. Squeeze never achieved massive success in the States, but they managed to gain a loyal following among discerning listeners. Chris Difford recently described their music as “Pop music with a heart,” but I believe it was their distinct songwriting wit that won fans. Judging by the sprinkling of younger members in the audience they are continuing to win fans.