When the Jam moved up from punk upstarts to mod statesmen in 1979, the British kids turned to other mod outfits to satisfy their craving for everything well-dressed and retro. While the Chords followed in the Jam’s footsteps, the three other main contenders for the mod followed different musical paths: Secret Affair were a magical blend of punk, soul and pop with a mild dose of prog; the Lambrettas were straightforward power pop; and Squire were a mix of all of the above and more. In fact, if the mod scene hadn’t existed, Squire would have still made brilliant, timeless records, no matter what was going on around them. While only releasing one full-fledged album (Get Smart!), singer/songwriter Anthony Meynell would embrace the ’60s wholeheartedly while releasing a batch of singles that still managed to sound contemporary while exposing the many influences he wore on his sleeve.
The Singles Album, originally released in 1985, features 17 moments of inspired pop genius that will appeal to fans of mod, power pop and ’60s inspired ecstasy. Meynell and his mates created songs that could have easily topped the charts in the mid-’60s but were virtually ignored during the late ’70s and early ’80s. Making records that did not bear the stamps of modern production (synths, programmed drums, etc.) may have not helped their careers in the short run, but Squire’s releases sound so much better for it more than two decades later. While some would accuse them of being mere copyists, Squire may beg, borrow and steal from the best, but they still sound like Squire! “No Time Tomorrow” borrows heavily from the Fab Four’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” while tracks like “Don’t Cry to Me” and “I Know a Girl” reach back to their simple Merseybeat days. “My Mind Goes Round in Circles” recalls the best of the Who’s early pop epics. From the punk power of “Get Ready to Go” to the glorious Baroque pop of “Every Trick in the Book of Love,” this remains one of the most cruelly overlooked compilations from the early ’80s. [Steve “Spaz” Schnee]