Cradle to the Grave

Virgin EMI

It is, apparently, almost two decades since we have heard new songs from the collaborative pen of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, which seems hardly credible. But the dozen new numbers on this disc, composed to soundtrack the upcoming television version of journalist Danny Baker’s memoirs, in which Peter Kay and Lucy Speed will play his mother and father, are apparently the first since 1998’s Domino album.

Neither man has been exactly idle since then, however, and even the band has been a going concern again since 2007, so what is fresh and vital about this new collection? Let’s just say that is probably the wrong question. Challenged to provide some new Squeeze material to accompany a narrative that is essentially an exercise in comic nostalgia set in the Deptford barrio where all the protagonists grew up, these seasoned pros have done just that. It is unmistakably a Squeeze album, filled with the sort of characteristic plangent chord progressions and ear-catching turns of phrase the band was famed for, and Tilbrook’s high tenor voice, sometimes underscored by Difford’s unison Octaver pedal echo, is undiminished by the passing of the years.

The single, Happy Days, is probably the equal of anything the pair wrote in their chart heyday and the album’s singular sonic distinction is a nice line and gospel and soul vocal choruses and backing vocals, but if you what you have been waiting for is a Squeeze album to expand your collection, this will certainly not be a disappointment.

Keith Bruce