“Rising above the new wave bands of the era, Squeeze quickly abandoned their early punk/experimental roots and firmly embraced a Beatle-influenced pop sensibility, albeit with an updated musical sound. While the two preceding albums, Cool for Cats and Argybargy, had some great moments, East Side Story was their most ambitious effort, with a wide range of musical styles and some of their best tracks.” MF
”It's a rare pop band that can fit the word quintessence neatly into a song, but the duo of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook – the heart of Squeeze--do so with ease.” RS ”The songs are imaginative, compassionate, and of course hooky…the music is quite punchy.” RC “There's a good reason that they've been hailed as the best British songwriting team since Lennon and McCartney, and if they've never scaled the heights of fame--or of grandeur--that their forebears did, well, that's OK.” RS
Squeeze pulled off a masterstroke on this album with “the soulful groove of Tempted, the song the band is probably best known for.” CW ”In one of the smartest free transfer deals ever, Squeeze were able to plug the massive midfield gap left by the departing Jools Holland with the nimble-fingered Paul Carrack,” HE who sings and co-writes (along with Tilbrook and Elvis Costello).
”The rest of the album remains strong, buoyed by the group's bouncy outlook, Costello and coproducer Roger Bechiran's prodding the group in new directions, and hints of the new-wave-influenced sound Squeeze would develop years later on Babylon and On.” RS
“East Side Story was originally planned as a double album with each side produced by a different ‘hot’ producer — Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, and Paul McCartney were the proposed lineup. And while only…Costello…ended up doing the job, save for one track by Edmunds, Costello's push for decidedly un-Squeeze-like material and sympathetic production style resulted in not only the band's most diverse but also their most creatively rewarding album to date.” CW In fact, Costello “coaxes out what might be their best effort.” JA
”The standouts come from the unexpected turns.” CW “The warped organ on Heaven bespeaks divine intervention.” RC There’s also “the country lament of Labeled with Love,” CW a top ten hit in the UK, “the trippy near-psychedelia of There's No Tomorrow” CW and “the lush and delicate…Vanity Fair.” CW
The album is still “definitely packed with the band's trademark bouncy Brit-pop numbers,” CW “most notably the feel-good pure-pop of Piccadilly, In Quintessence…and Mumbo Jumbo.” MF There’s also the “sweet poignancy of Woman World and Is That Love.” MF
All in all, ”East Side Story is a solid, thoroughly enjoyable album with enough variety to keep it fresh for years to come.” MF