REVIEW: Squeeze, O2 Academy, Bournemouth.

Squeeze bassist – and East Preston resident – John Bentley tells you that Squeeze are a much better band than in their more frenetic higher-profile chart days.

And on the evidence of the latest date of their latest post-reunion tour, you’d have to agree – which represents no small achievement for a band that simply doesn’t know how to be anything less than brilliant.

But there’s no doubting that there is something new about them in their new more-mature incarnation – a freshness, a tightness and a drive that takes Squeeze concert-going to even greater heights.

The proof is in the way they are so effortlessly and so successfully slipping in a whole raft of new songs.

Several years on from their great comeback, they’ve got the confidence to move forward, and they are doing so in style.

Determined never to be their own tribute band (though most of us would be happy if they were), they’re cranking up the new material, and most of it has got “instant Squeeze classic” written all over it.

But frontmen Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are canny performers: they know that what we really really want is that frisson of familiarity, that tingle as they give us Up The Junction, that special yes when we hear Another Nail In My Heart – and they deliver those magic moments by the bucketload.

Hear those hits again and suddenly we are 30 years younger, and boy, does it feel good. It’s that old cliché. Squeeze really were the soundtrack to our more youthful days; and Squeeze have retained that unique ability to take us right back there, not least because of the sheer quality of those songs.

Maybe the “new Lennon-McCartney” label lumbered them unfairly, but the Tilbrook-Difford partnership captures something of all us of and throws it back at us with a directness which has comfortably stood the test of time.

And so they really are in Some Fantastic Place, surely their greatest song. And we are too. Yes, they are moving on with renewed vitality; but just as importantly (unlike a few of their contemporaries), they are delivering their classics with precisely the mix of generosity and enthusiasm which made them so special in the first place.

Not many experiences in life leave you with quite the warm buzz of a Squeeze concert. Catch them at the dates below.

Phil Hewitt

24 Nov 2012 – Reading - Reading Hexagon

26 Nov 2012 – Cardiff - St Davids Hall

27 Nov 2012 – Folkestone - Leas Cliff Hall

28 Nov 2012 – Southend - Cliffs Pavilion

30 Nov 2012 – Birmingham - Symphony Hall

01 Dec 2012 – Manchester - O2 Apollo

02 Dec 2012 – Sheffield - O2 Academy Sheffield

04 Dec 2012 – Leeds - O2 Academy Leeds

05 Dec 2012 – Nottingham - Royal Concert Hall

08 Dec 2012 – Newcastle - Newcastle City Hall

09 Dec 2012 – Glasgow - O2 Academy Glasgow

10 Dec 2012 – Liverpool - Philharmonic Hall

12 Dec 2012 – London - HMV Forum

13 Dec 2012 – London - O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

14 Dec 2012 – London - IndigO2 at The O2

16 Dec 2012 – Norwich - Norwich U.E.A.