“Innocence In Paradise”, with its pedal steel and cinematic atmosphere evoking images of the mythical western, is the first single from Squeeze’s upcoming album, The Knowledge (released October 13).
Both reassuringly familiar and intriguingly different, the single is a fine example of the partnership between Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook.
Difford said “I’m so proud of this song, its flowing different and yet familiar. I don’t think we have reached this kind of musical bonding in a very long time.”
Two years on from the critically acclaimed Top 20 success of Cradle To The Grave (the band’s first set of new songs this century), The Knowledge offers up another dozen examples of high-quality Chris Difford & Glenn Tilbrook song craft and is the perfect curtain-raiser for a massive UK tour.
Very much part of the fabric of South London, their hometown heritage, such an integral part of the group’s DNA since the seventies hits like “Up The Junction”, “Cool For Cats” and “Slap And Tickle”, flows through the album as resolutely as the mighty majestic Thames. Greenwich’s own Maryon Wilson Park is name-checked in the chorus of the softly shuffling “Patchouli”, while “Every Story” is a heartfelt poem to the people and places that shaped their upbringing – “You can do much worse than being here,” sings Glenn with masterful understatement.
A more sombre note of austerity echoes across “Rough Ride”, lamenting the struggles faced living in the capital, its ultimately hopeful message enriched by guest performers also from South London, namely the Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir and the Thorntree School Choir. There’s also a powerful tribute to the National Health Service in “A&E”, essentially a protest song railing against underfunding and low public sector wages.
Elsewhere, Glenn (vocals, electric guitar) and Chris (vocals, acoustic guitar) address all manner of issues, from schoolboy footballers abused by predatory coaches (“Final Score”) to veteran obsessive record collectors (“Albatross”), from erectile dysfunction (“Please Be Upstanding”) to their own lengthy – and not always harmonious – relationship (the jaunty pop ska closer “Two Forks”).
Speaking about the record Glenn says “It is such a pleasure to say that in 2017 we have delivered our best ever record.” Chris recently observed “playing back the album I can feel the love we still have as songwriters, and for each other. It’s been some journey, and I hope it goes on for many years to come.”
Produced by Tilbrook, Andrew Jones and Laurie Latham, The Knowledge was recorded at 45 RPM Studios in Charlton and finds Glenn and Chris once again in the company of drummer Simon Hanson and keyboard wizard Stephen Large, plus a couple of new faces; Yolanda Charles on bass and Steve Smith on percussion.
Yolanda, tells us “I’m so excited to be invited to play with Squeeze. The guys were a pleasure to record the new album with and I know playing the live shows will be a fantastic experience.”
Steve, has previously supported Glenn on tour and has a deep personal connection with the band’s music, saying “I don’t know how many musicians get the chance of a lifetime to join the very first band that they ever went to see in concert.”
The Knowledge track list
Innocence In Paradise
A Rough Ride
Please Be Upstanding
After their resurgence in 2015 with UK Top 20 and critically acclaimed album Cradle To The Grave, the first Squeeze album of new songs since 1998, Squeeze
went on to play the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2016, solidifying themselves as one of the UK’s best live acts. The Guardian said their performance “[went] down a storm… Squeeze’s success is a pretty infectious thing” and Acoustic magazine concluded that “they don’t have the bombastic hype of headliners Coldplay, but they have the songcraft and lyrical majesty to leave the headliners in the dust which they duly did.”
Squeeze first formed in 1973, shortly after Chris and Glenn had begun their songwriting partnership, brought together by an ad in a sweet shop window. By 1977 they had made their recording debut and enjoyed a string of hits which lasted until 1982, the maturity of their songs outliving their initial burst of chart activity on the back of New Wave. Over the years there have been solo careers and occasional separations, but the Ivor Novello Award-winning duo reunited ten years ago to relaunch Squeeze and have been touring, writing and recording together since.
Squeeze 2017 Tour Dates:
10/05 – Rhyl – Rhyl Pavilion
10/06 – Birmingham – Birmingham Symphony Hall
10/07 – Birmingham – Birmingham Symphony Hall
10/09 – Milton Keynes – Milton Keynes Theatre
10/10 – Cardiff – St David’s Hall
10/12 – Brighton – Brighton Dome
10/13 – Bristol – Colston Hall
10/14 – Leicester – De Montford Hall
10/16 – Bournemouth – Pavilion Theatre
10/17 – Guildford – G Live,
10/19 – Ipswich – Regent Theatre
10/20 – Nottingham – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
10/21 – London – Indigo 2
10/23 – Reading – Hexagon Theatre
10/24 – Southend – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
10/26 – Cambridge – Cambridge City Hall
10/27 – Cambridge – Cambridge Corn Exchange
10/28 – Harrogate – IC
10/30 – Manchester – Bridgewater Hall
10/31 – Edinburgh – Usher Hall
11/02 – Gateshead– Sage 1
11/03 – Glasgow – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
11/04 – Liverpool– Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
11/06 – London – Royal Albert Hall