Album Review: Squeeze - The Knowledge
Having returned two years ago with the critically-acclaimed Cradle To The Grave, this London troupe have decided to err...Squeeze one more release in for us.
This is album number 16 for the group, whose list of past members and releases now stretches out further than Peter Crouch's toe trying to get on the end of a cross.
But after that resurgence in 2015 this all feels a little strained. Ironically, despite their name they have opted for song-writing of the elongated variety. Many tracks push past the five-minute mark, and it isn't needed.
They are often heralded for their wildly fantastical lyrical efforts. But here some just come across as cringey. Their sideways political commentary on the current state of the NHS in A&E doesn't quite hit its mark despite the sassy keys throughout the chorus.
And Final Score is a noble attempt to tell the story of a young (fictional, we think) footballer abused by his coaches. But, again, it doesn't quite fit. The sombre-ish atmosphere perhaps lacks raw emotion that you would expect from such a track. The chorus here is maybe a little too uplifting with the choral backing. But perhaps they weren't looking for something too heavy.
Squeeze first formed in 1973, and since then Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook have given us some real alternative anthems in Cool For Cats and Up The Junction. And the prowess that won them an Ivor Novello award does shine through in moments.
Opener Innocence In Paradise is a fine track with its passive aggressive, reverberating bass and mournful guitars travelling at a steam train pace. This is where their length does work well, building from start to finish through the verses to tell their story before the crescendo kicks in.
But too much passes by. The Hawaiian church vibes of The One for example, it all begins to feel like we have heard it before. We have, earlier up the record. And that is the album's biggest problem, again.
It's too long, Twelve tracks, each stretched to breaking point. It could have been much less of a slog.
Squeeze played two nights in a row at Birmingham's Symphony Hall on October 6 and 7, but if you missed out on those dates they are also at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall on October 20.