|East Side Story|
|Produced by Roger Bechirian and Elvis Costello|
(track 1 by Dave Edmunds)
|Released on May 1981|
|UK CHART POSITION #19 . . . US CHART POSITION #44|
|Find it at GEMM|
[high resolution photo]
A n occasion to get happy all over again. My love affair with Squeeze started when I heard “Mumbo Jumbo” playing from a pair of cheap speakers in Caldors. (The lovelorn have such strange haunts.) I immediately took East Side Story home, and it’s been domestic bliss ever since. This remains to my mind the quintessential Squeeze album, a gem from any angle. You have the uncontainable energy (“Picadilly,” “In Quintessence,” “Mumbo Jumbo”), the soulful ballad (“Tempted”), the clever crossover into country (“Labelled With Love”), and the list goes on. It’s on this album that the comparisons to The Beatles hold, going so far as to credit individual vocals a la the Beats. Glenn Tilbrook even sounds like a ringer for Paul McCartney on “There’s No Tomorrow,” and “Vanity Fair” could be seen as his “Eleanor Rigby.” It’s not just the range of the material that impresses, but the sympathetic production from Elvis Costello and Roger Bechirian. That pair understood the power of packaging maximum pop while alternating the tempo, as evidenced on landmark pop albums like Get Happy!! and The Specials. Yet the victory belongs to Squeeze. Elvis albums, no matter how brilliant, rarely stepped outside of themselves as Squeeze does here (though Trust marked a similar shift in strategy). Songs like “Tempted” and “Messed Around” might have been mere costume changes if not for the convincing performances. The sweet/sour track placement also makes a difference, with the noisier pieces (“Someone Else’s Hart,” “Heaven,” “F-Hole”) afloat in a sea of calm joy. You’ll find that manipulation of mood most apparent when “Someone Else’s Bell” rolls around, which takes an extra breath before bringing the discussion back into the warm arms of pop. Both Costello and his mentor (if one might be so bold), Nick Lowe, knew how to set a table and serve their dishes in the right order. And East Side Story is nothing if not a well-served feast. Argybargy seems a bit raw by comparison, Sweets overcooked, but East Side Story is Squeeze al dente. At the risk of waking the hounds of hyperbole, I’d call this one of the most effective pop albums of all time.
|SP-4854 back cover|
JOHN BENTLEY -- bass, backing vocals
PAUL CARRACK -- keyboards, vocals
CHRIS DIFFORD -- guitar, vocals
GILSON LAVIS -- drums
GLENN TILBROOK -- guitar, vocals
Elvis Costello -- backing vocals (3,5)
Del Newman -- orchestral arrangements
Bob Bromide -- photography
return to SQUEEZE discography
|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|UK/NET||May 1981||A&M||LP||AMLH 64584|
|US||Mobile Fidelity||CD||UDCD-739||original master recording|
|EUR||1998||A&M||CDX||540805||digital remaster w. bonus tracks|
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