Hard to Find by Mike Dees is available from Burning Sky Records on the newly released Songs of Squeeze Revisited.
Here’s the story of their recording:
For many casual Squeeze fans, Squeeze are largely remembered for their hit singles such as “Up The Junction,” Pulling Mussels (From The Shell),” and “Black Coffee In Bed.” These are all great songs and all tell great (and often bittersweet) short stories within a 3-4 minute song. However, what sometimes gets forgotten is that Squeeze wrote a number of very twisted songs! Songs like “Sex Master,” “Touching Me, Touching You,” and “It’s Not Cricket,” for example, are all delightfully bizarre and with lyrics that you might not want to explain to your mum.
“Hard To Find” from the “Cool For Cats” could make a case for being the most twisted of all. However, as with a number of Squeeze’s songs, the strangeness is offset by an upbeat, almost jaunty approach to the song. As you’re humming along with the song you don’t realize just how strange it is until after the song is over and the lyrics sink in.
In his excellent cover of “Hard To Find,” US artist Mike Dees has restored the creepiness suggested by the lyrics to the overall mood of the track. Droning guitars circle ominously around Mike as he snarls the lyrics, becoming more agitated as the song goes on. By the end of the track, he is panting, and you might find yourself doing the same thing!
Mike Dees is a Burning Sky Records fave – in fact, he is the only artist who will have contributed covers to each of our first five full-length releases. I truly believe there is no band that Mike Dees can’t cover, but I will happily continue to test him. :)
Meanwhile, here is what Mike had to say about covering “Hard To Find”:
HARD TO FIND – MIKE DEES
Why be part of a tribute to Squeeze?
They’re a great band! Difford and Tilbrook are excellent songwriters with a great ear for harmony, hooks aplenty, and the musicianship to make what seems at first listen to be a simple little tune a lot more nuanced and complex once you really start studying it. I’ve definitely been influenced by their melodic sense.
Why the song “Hard To Find”?
After digging deep into their catalogue, the lyrics to this one really stood out. They’re creepy and sinister, but also hilarious.
What approach did you take to the song?
I wanted to try something really different with this track. To amp up the sinister feel, I changed the time signature and rearranged the chords, giving it an almost middle-eastern prog feel. I decided to add some ambient samples to the beginning and end to add an element of industrial/trip-hop. Before I found my calling in Power Pop, I sang in a lot of metal bands, so I think a little Metallica and Tool influence reared its head in the vocals as well. A huge of influence of mine that isn’t immediately noticeable is Alice Cooper. I channeled him in taking on the character of an earnest narcoleptic stalker while singing it. To top it all off, the keyboard flute in the chorus ups the absurdity level, reminding me more of a calliope or the music on a merry-go-round. It’s a strange gumbo of sounds and influences, but ended pretty tasty.
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