Squeeze: U.K. Squeeze (1978)

A very bumpy ride, or so I always thought, sticking my head out the window to howl a curse to John Cale in the rush of wind. But it’s 3:30 in the morning (again), and I’m amenable to anything, even noisy, precocious and sometimes preposterous power pop that might have otherwise fallen from the long-chapped lips of any number of late ‘70s also-rans (Wreckless Eric, The Payola$). The band’s first proper album comes with a caveat: you’ll need to do some digging to find the little melodic treasures that spilled so easily from Argybargy and its ilk. Obstacles include egregious instances of noisemongering, a few tracks of plain filler, and tantalizing bits of melody that serve as the album’s unreachable itch. It’s clear even here that melody is not their enemy, so why would they go out of their way to sound like young, snotty punks? Legend (and since I never look anything up, it’s always legend) goes that Cale had the band write new material for the album, which would explain soft spots like “The Call” or the instrumental “Wild Sewerage Tickles Brazil.” And even The Police fell victim to the noisy rebellion of new wave at first (while wisely avoiding the inevitable “Fallout”). The album isn’t juvenilia, but songs like “Sex Master,” “Bang Bang” and “Hesitation (Rool Britannia)” may jostle the sensibilities of latter-day Squeeze fans. More likely to please this contingent are “Out of Control,” “Model” and “First Thing Wrong,” bits of which evince the prince charmings beneath an otherwise froggy exterior. U.K. Squeeze (or simply Squeeze in the U.K., since there wasn’t a legal challenge to the name over there) is closer to punk rock than pub rock, a point which will scare off pop purists. However, if you’re a fan of the band (and I am), you’ll squeeze something sweet from this unripe fruit. Oh yeah, and “Take Me I’m Yours” is on here too, which I’ve never liked (fyi, it is not an accurate gauge of this album).

Original LP Version
A1. Sex Master
A2. Bang Bang
A3. Strong In Reason
A4. Wild Sewerage Tickles Brazil (Chris Difford/Glenn Tilbrook/Gilson Lavis/Harry Kakoulli/Julian Holland)
A5. Out of Control
A6. Take Me I’m Yours
B1. The Call
B2. Model
B3. Remember What
B4. First Thing Wrong
B5. Hesitation (Rool Brittania)
B6. Get Smart

All songs written by Chris Difford/Glenn Tilbrook unless noted.

The Players
Chris Difford (rhythm guitar, vocals), Jools Holland (keyboards), Harry Kakoulli (bass), Gilson Lavis (drums), Glenn Tilbrook (lead guitar, vocals). Produced by John Cale except tracks A2/B1 produced by U.K. Squeeze; engineered by Greg Jackman, John Wood.

The Pictures
Art direction by Michael Ross. Design by Nick marshall. Photography by George Greenwood.

The Plastic
Released on elpee in March 1978 in the UK (A&M, AMLH 68465) and on red vinyl elpee in the US (A&M, SP 4687). Re-issued on elpee, cassette and CD in the US (A&M, SP-3185).

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