Squeeze's "Packet of Three" EP.


SQUEEZE  Packet Of Three EP:  “Cat On A Wall” b/w “Night Ride” & “Backtrack”(Deptford Fun City Records DFC 01, November 1979)

Squeeze needs no introduction, so I’ll just dig right into the meat of this platter.  This is the 1979 reissue of their 1977 debut EP on the Deptford Fun City label from the UK.  Exactly how I ended up with this I’m unsure, but suffice to say it’s one of my favorite little time-capsules from the late-’70’s English punk/pub/power-pop explosion.  Not that I was there to witness it mind you, but some scenes you just have to experience vicariously, right?  Right.  So let’s move onward.

Besides the obvious sexual implications, the EP’s title refers to the fact that it features 3 tracks:  “Cat On A Wall” adorns side A on its own, while “Night Ride” and “Backtrack” share the flip.  For some reason, the label fails to mention “Night Ride,” but it’s listed on the sleeve, so nevermind.  The disc is pressed on a red vinyl so dark it looks black;  when held up to light it gives off a dark cherry glow.  Nothing could be finer.

Side A’s “Cat On A Wall” is pure hard-driving power-pop, the kind I wish Squeeze still made.  Granted, there’s lots of bands aping this sound today, but these cats are the MASTERS, let’s face it.  The blistering guitar solos, the octave harmony vocals, the drum solo bordering on Peartgasm, descending into pure acid-fried dissonance and back again, the run-off groove that lasts forever if you let it…who the hell else could get away with this and live to tell about it?  No one besides Squeeze, that’s who.  And the only bad thing I can say about this track is it’s way too short.  Ya gotta play it twice.  (I found a video someone else made, playing the original pressing.  It looks & sounds better than any vid I can make, so here it is.)

SQUEEZE \”Cat On A Wall\” on YouTube

“Night Ride” opens the flip-side with a tinny, distorted guitar playing eighth-notes on the open strings from low to high, leading into a raucous hard-rocker.  Then “Backtrack,” which basically sounds like Professor Longhair on steroids and speed, zips in and out of your ears before you can even realize what has hit them.  Former Velvet Underground violist John Cale produced all 3 of these tracks, as well as their entire debut album.  He’s even pictured with the band on the back of this EP’s sleeve.  Now, from what I’ve read, Cale and the band absolutely hated each other and never worked together again, but who the fuck knows or cares?  All I know is that Cale coaxed an amazing sound from these guys in this session, putting the levels up into the red, developing a thick, hard rock for Squeeze to build on.  And build they did.  But they never sounded quite like this again.

NEXT WEEK:  What happens when a strangely-named English guitar virtuoso meets four mysterious masked-men from Shreveport in swinging 1970’s San Francisco?