“After the false start of the debut, Squeeze recast themselves as a quintessentially British band” (Woodstra) and “truly hit their stride. The crazily hopped- up arrangements and murky production of their debut gave way to more sophisticated approaches on every front” (half.ebay.com). ”Not only does its songcraft surpass that of the band's debut, but it also isn't quite as sophomoric” (Christgau). ”The band's sound is much more fleshed out, and the production is more deliberate and refined” (Alroy). “The band often rocks harder than they did on the debut, this time adding synth-driven arrangements while retaining a working-class pub-rock sensibility” (Woodstra).
“Chris Difford's lyrics find their way into thornier subject matter than most writers in the pop world tend to explore and, combined with Glenn Tilbrook's McCartney-esque melodies and phrasing, the listener is drawn in by the sweet seduction of it all” (half.ebay.com).
“As always everything's dominated by Difford and Tilbrook, but Holland does get in a spotlight number that hints at the boogie-woogie jazz he later obsessed with (Hop Skip & Jump) (Alroy).
Squeeze “proudly imbue a couple of the songs with a strong dose of their very British-ness” (half.ebay.com) “packing the songs with exaggerated accents, British slang, and incorporating a nearly cinematic narrative style to make incisive observations on British working-class life with a sly, skewed wit and a sex-obsessed thematic undercurrent” (Woodstra).
Nowhere is this more obvious than on the “unforgettable Difford-sung hit title track” (Woodstra). “Cool for Cats had the strongest U.K. vocal inflection of any song to cross the ocean in the late seventies outside of Ian Dury” (half.ebay.com).
The album also “boasts arguably their finest song-story in Up the Junction, a timeless gem” (Woodstra). It is a “’50s sock hop-style ballad with a pretty keyboard hook and some witty word play” (Alroy). The British charts rewarded that song and “Cool for Cats” by sending them both to #2 on the charts.
“The album's staying power is demonstrated by no less than four songs having become relative staples for the band over the years” (half.ebay.com) – the two songs already mentioned, as well as Slap and Tickle…and Goodbye Girl" (half.ebay.com), the latter being “an interesting synth ballad” (Alroy).
A sizable chunk of the rest of the album is fleshed out by “a bunch of sporadically enjoyable Costello-style rock songs (Touching Me, Touching You; It's So Dirty; Hard to Find; Slightly Drunk)” (Alroy).
In the end, “Cool for Cats stands as the band's first truly great album” (Woodstra)