Chris Difford

South East Side Story

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Chris Difford was never the lead singer of Squeeze. During the band's entire career, he sang only a handful of songs, as his partner, Glenn Tilbrook, had a brighter, friendlier voice. In contrast, Difford's low, accented rumble wasn't quite as accessible, at least for a band that wanted to be pop, even though it captured the sardonic humor of his lyrics quite well. With this in mind, it makes perfect sense for Difford to release an album like South East Side Story, where he offers his own take on Squeeze's classic songs. Make no mistake about it: these versions do sound different than the originals, and not just because Difford is singing. He has given the ten songs here stripped-back, gentle acoustic-based arrangements, adorned with steel guitars and wistful female harmonies. It's quiet and reserved, ideal for upscale coffeehouses, yet it's also heartfelt and not too slick. There's a sweetly melancholy, mildly regretful undercurrent to the performances that fits the songs well, and helps make this an interesting, modestly revealing look at Difford's back pages. It's hard to imagine that there wouldn't be a Squeeze fan who wouldn't find this worth a listen.

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