October 14, 1985 12:00 PM


An old blues lyric says, “You don’t miss your water till your well runs dry.” A dry well was pretty much what the English pop band Squeeze had become by the time it broke up in 1982, disillusioned and with only one hit single to show for years of rave reviews and cult adoration. But wandering in the desert of independence seems to have given Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, the group’s talented singing and songwriting team, and Jools Holland, the keyboard cutup who stalked out in 1980, a renewed appreciation for the unique sound that was Squeeze. Joined on this reunion album by Gilson Lavis, the group’s original drummer, and Keith Wilkinson, a bassist working with Squeeze for the first time, they sound reenergized and glad to be back. Difford and Tilbrook weave some of the most ornate and intriguingly oblique melodies this side of Elvis Costello. They are in top form, especially in I Learnt How To Pray, a soul strut about the perils of crossing the boundary between friendship and romance; and Last Time Forever, a smoldering exorcism of regrets that scales the same emotional peaks that sent Tempted to the top of the charts in 1981. Difford and Tilbrook’s verbal cuteness remains undiminished, as the LP title demonstrates. And their lyrics, as on earlier Squeeze LPs, never quite deliver the story with coherent meaning that their semi-narrative style at first promises. The primary pleasures of Squeeze lie in those slippery melodies, the convincingly bluesy, soulful and honky-tonk rhythms and the instrumental detailing, which, thanks in part to Holland’s return, has never been better. The album is not as immediately accessible as the group’s classics, Argybargy and East Side Story, but it unfolds and expands with repeated listening. Maybe you can go home again. (A&M)

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