Chris Difford

Cashmere If You Can

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Compared to the austere The Last Temptation of Chris, Cashmere If You Can -- Chris Difford's third solo album of new songs -- is a celebration, one kicked off with the glammy stomp of “1975” and fueled by the rockabilly of “Back in the Day.” Tellingly, the titles of those two songs telegraph part of the album’s autobiographical pull, but Cashmere If You Can isn’t an exercise in nostalgia. Difford draws clear-eyed comparisons between his past and present, writing wry, perceptive songs about parenthood and other middle-aged adventures. Never succumbing to easy sentiment or cynicism, Difford is perceptive throughout Cashmere If You Can, but what makes it his best solo album -- and best project in recent memory -- is how he pairs his wit and insight with a rich musicality, one that shifts from those aforementioned buoyant rockers to pretty bouts of introspection, all delivered with a soulfulness that’s cheerfully self-deprecating and humane.

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