It is hard to fully appreciate the craft and deceptive complexity of the music of Squeeze until you sit down with a guitar to learn a handful of their songs. Slowly, you realize that this music – which flows with the effortlessness and inevitability of timeless pop – disguises tricky modulations, endless thematic variations and structural horseplay that come to seem more like Johannes Brahms up close. At that point you curse and congratulate the maestro behind the madness, Squeeze’s triple-threat composer, lead singer and lead guitarist Glenn Tilbrook.
Squeeze’s time as a chart-topper was a relatively brief and feverish run in the early 1980s, framed by “Goodbye Girl” and “Up the Junction” on the early side and “Black Coffee in Bed,” the swan song of the original lineup. The catalogue is crowned by a pair of utterly essential records right in the middle: Argy Bargy and the Elvis Costello-produced Sgt. Pepper moonshot Eastside Story. But their body of work, as well as Tilbrook’s solo catalogue, are massive and ceaselessly interesting.
For people like me who love little more than the smart, Beatle-derived guitar-pop tradition that includes everyone from XTC to Aimee Mann to Elliott Smith, Glen Tilbrook is nothing short of Mount Rushmore royalty: really one of the most talented cats of them all, and tireless, too. On Saturday, August 25, Colony presents an acoustic and electric mashup with Glenn Tilbrook and his son Leon Tilbrook. Tickets cost $40 and $50. For more information, visit www.colonywoodstock.com. Colony is located at 22 Rock City Road in Woodstock.