Many of the original new wave artists who were being heard in various underground sources had a rawness to their sound that at times made them more backward looking than progressive in retrospect. 1960s era American R&B was a goldmine to be pillaged, repackaged and sold to new generations who had no clue who Memphis Slim or Hank Ballard were. Everybody from the The Beatles to The Jam had done it and so would Squeeze.
It was obvious that English kids did their homework when it came to American musical history. One of the best of the retro post punk sounds came from Squeeze. The had a certain rawness that gave authenticity to their music. Songs like ‘Tempted’ and ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ framed a period of retro soul influences built around the voices of Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford.
Squeeze went through many line up changes with its two founders as the only constant. When the ban called it quits in the 1983, only to reappear two years later, they had a more polished sound that left behind much of the raw soul from the last six studio albums.
Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti had benefited from the modern production values explored in the so called missing Squeeze album Difford & Tilbrook from 1984. In it Squeeze employed many new production techniques and employed more synthesizers, drum machines and electronic vocal effects. With the exception of a few new musicians from the Difford & Tilbrook sessions, the original lineup from 1980 was present for the new project.
Although much of the albums production flourishes sound dated, it’s still a Squeeze album and that means it benefits from the vocals, writing and composing of both Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook.
Songs like ‘King George Street’ and ‘I Learnt How to Pray’ have an innocent charm about them while Squeeze tackles the realities of a harsh world for the first time on ‘Heartbreaking World’. Thematically Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti picks up where Difford and Tillbrook left off with pleasant songs about love and torrid relationships.
As a well balanced recording, Cost Fan Tutti Frutti had any number of potential singles although only one became a hit (or near hit) in America. ‘Hits of the Year’ may not have been the albums strongest track, but it did expose many new listeners to the music of Squeeze.
It would not be until the single ‘Hourglass’ from the followup album Babylon and On in 1987 that Squeeze would reach the American top 20. Not surprisingly as their commercial appeal in America declined shortly after as they improved their critical profile.
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