Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Difford & Tilbrook - Difford & Tilbrook

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Difford & Tilbrook, the only studio album release from Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, the main songwriters from Squeeze. It went to number 47 in the UK; here in the US it spent fifteen weeks on the Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 55. Many consider it the bridging album between the group’s 1982 Sweets From a Stranger and 1985’s Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti.

Side one opens with “Action Speaks Faster”, the B-side to the second single. The song has a Chic-like disco rhythm behind it with slashing synthesizers thrown in for good measure. It is a solid track to start things off.

“Love’s Crashing Waves” was the first single, charting at number 57 in the UK. The lyrics swirl with the rumors and whispers of a relationship falling apart.

The third single was “Picking Up the Pieces”, an up-tempo attempt to sift through the aftermath of a break-up.

“On My Mind Tonight” opens with an interesting percussion riff that lays the foundation for the rest of this cool, mid-tempo ballad.

“Man For All Seasons” spins a role reversal with the woman being the family breadwinner and the man staying home to live a life of leisure. The melody has a slight off-ness to it that ends up working quite well.

Side two begins with “Hope Fell Down”, the second single from the album.

“Wagon Train” picks up the pace a bit, but it falls a little short of a real good dance number for me. The blending of the lead and backing vocals though work nicely on this one.

“You Can’t Hurt the Girl” tells of the involvement with a girl who is no stranger to a broken heart. The twist comes at the very end with an additional line to the earlier chorus.

“Tears For Attention” opens a bit like Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” with its rhythm but then shifts to a cascading synth pop pacing.

The album closes with “The Apple Tree”. This slow paced tune sets a mood of loneliness and abandonment.

Even as a Squeeze fan, this was my first listen to Difford & Tilbrook. Seeing as it was aimed directly for a more commercial market, it really hit a sweet spot for me as a listener.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Oh baby this thing was right in my sweet spot as an 18 year old. The songs aren't up to the usual D&T incredibly high songwriting standards, but the true tragedy is the production. Nonetheless, I listened to it all the way through just two days ago when I couldn't stop hearing "On My Mind Tonight" in my head. Nothing takes me back to the summer of '84 faster than this album.

My overly critical take from three years ago: Difford & Tilbrook on The CD Project.