Squeeze – Spot the Difference (CD review)

Squeeze – Spot the Difference (XOXO Records) – CD review –

The track list and in-joke title of Squeeze’s “Spot the Difference” suggest just what they seem – a new album containing faithful re-recordings of some of the group’s biggest hits.  The band still sounds terrific, flexing their musical muscle on the rockers, revealing sensitivity on the ballads.

Glenn Tilbrook continues to strut his vocal prowess, still hitting high notes with ease.  If not in on the premise from the start, the casual listener could easily think they’re listening to rare demos, outtakes or remixes of the beloved originals.

So faithful are the re-creations here that the earliest songs are presented in their original 45 incarnations, and nuances such as Paul Carrack’s barely audible utterance of “I bought a toothbrush” just before he sings the line at full throat in “Tempted”, are preserved.  One glaringly obvious, spotted difference is the curious absence of Carrack on “Loving You Tonight”.  Though he is missed, Tilbrook turns in an equally passionate performance, in turn creating a “new” track for longtime fans.

“Spot the Difference” is a happy reminder of an era when pop songcraft was art, and few ever did or do it better than Squeeze.  –Jay Scott