Magazine article The New Yorker

Popping Back Up;

Magazine article The New Yorker

Popping Back Up;

Article excerpt

For more than fifteen years, Glenn Tilbrook was a mainstay of the British group Squeeze, which emerged from the late punk era to record some of the cleverest and most carefully observed pop songs of the eighties. But he and his former writing partner, Chris Difford, have been slow starters as solo artists. Difford's debut, "I Didn't Get Where I Am," came out earlier this year to mixed reviews. Tilbrook released "The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook" in 2001 and now has a second record, "Transatlantic Ping Pong" (Compass). While it's not quite a Squeeze record, it's not quite anything else. Tilbrook's sweet tenor is pushed to the front of the songs, which are pleasantly Beatle-esque compositions with the occasional jazz or country decoration. Without Difford's gruff and tuneless counterpoint, Tilbrook's vocals can be winningly (or annoyingly) unironic. To say that the record is predictable is not necessarily faint praise: Tilbrook has practiced this kind of thing long enough to be nearly perfect at it. A few of the songs ("Hot Shaved Asian Teens," "Genitalia of a Fool") rely on a raciness that probably seemed daring on paper but is just silly on record. …

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