Squeeze’s new release, Play, seems to come out of chaos. This is the band’s third album on as many labels in as many years — and even as it debuts, leaders Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook are out touring on their own, sans group. What Squeeze could use is a decisive revival of Difford and Tilbrook’s one-time finely wrought songwriting, but Play isn’t it. There are some fine pop chops on the record; the opener, ”Satisfied,” is a witty yet ominous ode to sex, and ”The Truth” nicely dissects dishonesty. But far too much of the material is bloodless. Difford and Tilbrook’s forte — mannered, slightly labored constructions with precise lyrics and pristine instrumentation-requires, if you’ll pardon the vernacular, hooks up the wazoo to make it work. Lots of Play‘s tunes, like the sluggish ”There Is a Voice” and the tepidly bouncy ”Sunday Street,” lack any luster at all. C+

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