Squeeze has been my favorite band since the 1980's the reasons for which I discuss here (along with Chris Difford's lyrical genius) https://rajdronamraju.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/chris-difford-my-favorite-lyricist-plus-squeeze-my-favorite-band/
Finally heard the long awaited (16 years) new record in its entirety today. Favorite songs on CRADLE TO THE GRAVE after a couple listens - The title track, Nirvana, Snap, Crackle and Pop. I love the instrumental touches - The ukulele on the title track, the Eleanor Rigby-type strings on Sunny and the pedal steel on Haywire not to mention the sitar-y guitar on Nirvana and the cathedral-like keyboards and harmonica on Honeytrap. Everything is a beautiful old time Squeeze type ballad. Just a really comfortable record by my favorite band that feels like no time has passed.
As far as Difford's lyrics go, Beautiful Game is a delicate, well-put together comparison between a sports team losing badly on TV and the dying of the narrator's relationship as well as the opposite - winning and success at love. Open is a clever variation on the "here's the church here's the steeple" little kid trick as a life affirming statement of positivity.
For fans of Glenn Tilbrook's quick-fingered guitar solos, there are less here. He does get in a couple good ones - Open and Top of the Form are the most flashy.
Only complaint I have with CRADLE is I wish Difford sang lead on at least one new Squeeze song rather than just harmonizing on Tilbrook leads. He does sing cover versions of Lou Reed's Hangin' Round and Tom Wait's I Don't Wanna Grow Up on the extended version which also includes cover versions of Harper Valley PTA and The Kinks rarity A Strange Effect both sung by Tilbrook but those cover versions, while interesting, are nowhere near as good as the original Difford and Tilbrook songs and add nothing to the record.