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Transatlantic Ping Pong
Artist: Glenn Tilbrook
Label: Compass Records
One of the more interesting things happening in the current music is a resurrection of bands and performers who were known for “alternative pop” in the '80’s and '90’s. While most of these artists are operating under the radar these days, they continue to put out quality, intelligent music that is available if you only know where to hunt for it. Examples of this include Neil Finn (Crowded House, Spilt Enz), Aimee Mann (‘Til Tuesday, Magnolia soundtrack), Glen Phillips (toad the wet sprocket), and Colin Hay (Men at Work).
The former front man of Squeeze, Glenn Tilbrook, can now be added to this list. His second solo project, Transatlantic Ping Pong, shows that his unique vocal style is still fresh, and still relevant for those of us who fondly remember the glory days of power pop.
Tilbrook is in fine voice, with his trademark tenor raising songs like “Untouchable” and “Domestic Distortion” to high levels. A few other song titles, such as “Hot Shaved Asian Teens” (co-written with frequent Jewel collaborator Steve Poltz), and “Genitalia of a Fool” will cause a few raised eyebrows. This is not to say that these songs should be discarded at face value, though. “Where I Can Be Your Friend” is Tilbrook’s first song with Chris Difford, his former bandmate in Squeeze, in several years.
With the wave of nostalgia amongst thirty-something Generation X’ers being fueled by VH1, at times it seems like too many bands don’t know when to call it a day. Glenn Tilbrook, on the other hand, is one of those artists that should continue to make music until he loses either his voice or his interest. Transatlantic Ping Pong is a fine piece of work that would be received well by this listener had I never heard of Squeeze.
Brian A. Smith