Review- Rolling Stone, 1979
COOL FOR CATS
A & M
By Mitchell Schneider
Formerly U.K. Squeeze, this British fivesome mostly blends pop frivolity with arty synthesiser textures on its second album, which owes as much to the Beatles and 10cc as to the progressive fringe of the new wave. Squeeze's format certainly has its pleasures- "Slap & Tickle" combines clever sexual nonsense verse with what sounds like the mating squeals of laboratory animals- but Cool For Cats too often offers more tedium than titillation.
The band's chief problem resides in its two alternating lead vocalists, Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford, both of whom usually sing with puzzling and dull reserve. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics of "It's So Dirty" and "Touching Me Touching You" (the latter an ode to masturbation) demand real vocal verve to sustain interest. Not surprisingly, Squeeze is most successful in parts of "Slightly Drunk", "Goodbye Girl" and "Slap & Tickle", where the singers let loose to harmonise endearingly.
If Tilbrook and Difford were more convincing, it'd be easy to admire this record. There are plenty of perky melodies ("It's So Dirty", "Up The Junction"), some shadowy synthesiser work ("The Knack") and lots of engagingly understated guitar lines. Maybe next time, Squeeze will come up as a winner. As Cool For Cats' best moments suggest, they have it in them.