Chris Difford’s new album ‘Cashmere If You Can’ will be released song by song over the next few months. The track list is:
2. Like I Did
3. The Still And The Sparkling
4. Back In The Day
5. Sidney Street
7. Upgrade Me
8. Who’d Ever Want To Be
9. Passion Killer
12. Happy Once Again
‘Cashmere If You Can’ is produced by Leo Abrahams and engineered by Cameron Craig (Paolo Nutini, Duffy, Placebo, U.N.K.L.E.)
Here’s the latest Press Release for Chris Difford’s new album:
The new album by Chris Difford
Songs Available in instalments from May via Saturday Morning Music Club*
First single ‘1975’ Available May 15th
Chris Difford has cemented his position as one of Britain’s premier songwriters with his eye for detail, turning even the grittiest observations into pithy vignettes with his dexterous and witty wordplay. On his new album ‘Cashmere If You Can’ – his third as a solo artist – Chris frequently turns his ever-watchful eye on himself for an album that is uncharacteristically autobiographical, but typically frank.
Opener ‘1975’ sets the tone, with a polished glam-rockabilly riff over propulsive drums while the lyrics recount the story of a young man forming a band in South London – seemingly to great success, but, as has been Chris’ way right from Squeeze’s earliest days, with a devastating sting in the tail – “I threw away a family, a fortune and a wife”. Would he trade it all in for the chance to be young and naïve again? “Sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m happy to be here. It’s been a pleasant journey” he tells us – but throughout the album these conflicting references continue. Would the real Mr Difford please stand up!?
Although the album isn’t nostalgic, much of it is focused on Chris’ maturation – where once he wrote he “never thought it would happen with … the girl from Clapham”, now he’s almost proud as he watches his children run around making the exact same mistakes (‘Like I Did’). ‘Back In The Day’ remembers the Chris whose cockney affectations in ‘Cool For Cats’ made living for the weekend seem so attractive. Throughout the album Chris imbues his songs with some heartbreaking truths, yet his deftness of touch, along with some instantly memorable melodies and choruses, prevents them becoming maudlin. ‘Goldfish’ – a duet with Kathryn Williams – describes a relationship breaking down by focusing not on vague emotions but on the petty trivialities and modern-day pitfalls that will be recognisable to anyone, while the ‘Girl From Ipanema’-esque strains of ‘Upgrade Me’ confront preparing for death and the afterlife by comparing it to the mundane requests of an air traveller.
Written with unflinching candour, ‘Sidney Street’ is a heartfelt, piano-led paean to his grandfather going off to war, a chilling reminder of just how different his life could have been if he’d been born in a different generation. Closing track ‘Happy Once Again’ sees Chris accepting a long-term relationship end with good grace – perhaps addressing himself. Having posed a lot of questions and contradictions throughout the album, this song seems to be the final resolution. Chris has always had a smart social conscience; these songs see him coming to terms with himself and his past, laying ghosts to rest.
As an artist, Chris has never been so vibrant. Although Chris is often noted for his lyrics – having won two Ivor Novello Awards – his baritone voice has rarely sounded so rich as it does here. As well as regular collaborator Boo Hewerdine, Chris has enlisted the services of Leo Abrahams, who has produced or written with Brian Eno, David Byrne, Brett Anderson, David Holmes & Carl Barat. The results have energised his music and given the whole album a rock-pop sheen reminiscent not just of Squeeze at their best or The Kinks but also shows the contemporary likes of Brendan Benson, Supergrass and Razorlight – all of whom owe a debt to Chris – how it’s done.
*The release of ‘Cashmere If You Can’ will be the first of its kind. Although it will be released on CD later this year, from May fans will be able to download the album track-by-track on a weekly basis through the new innovative digital distribution venture ‘Saturday Morning Music Club’, created by Chris and his manager. Over the course of a 10-week period, a ‘cluster’ of media will be delivered direct to fans’ desktops each Saturday morning, either to stream from the app or to burn onto CD: the week’s lead album track, 2 b-sides, videos, photos, lyrics and notes – just for one overall price. For Chris, “it’s not an album, it’s an experience … I’d love to bring that excitement of rushing to the record shop every Saturday back to music.”
The album’s release method reflects Chris and ‘Cashmere If You Can’ perfectly – at once looking back, while at the same time forging ahead bravely. As he sings on ‘Back In The Day’; “I’m still living my improbable dream!”