Songs of No Consequence

Songs of No Consequence

by Graham Parker
     
 
Still the most contentious angry middle-aged man in rock, Graham Parker gets back to his sneer-and-a-beer roots on this rambunctious outing, which is given an extra dose of fuel injection by the Figgs -- longtime Parker tour mates who hunkered down in the studio to help him kick out the jams. That band's musicians dovetail perfectly, in terms of

Overview

Still the most contentious angry middle-aged man in rock, Graham Parker gets back to his sneer-and-a-beer roots on this rambunctious outing, which is given an extra dose of fuel injection by the Figgs -- longtime Parker tour mates who hunkered down in the studio to help him kick out the jams. That band's musicians dovetail perfectly, in terms of style, with Parker's strengths, namely soul-inflected garage-rock -- poured most potently on the organ-drenched "Did Everybody Just Get Old?" -- and straightforward guitar pop. While Parker's gruff demeanor might make that last three-letter word seem somewhat inappropriate, he slips deftly into melodic mode on tunes like the rock-lifestyle paean "Bad Chardonnay" and the Kinks-ish "Chloroform." He slips away from the band setting for some of the disc's more concentrated doses of lyrical venom -- from the not-so-beautiful loser's lament "Vanity Press" to the Dylan-esque surrealist daydream "Dislocated Life." He's at his best, though, when his Figg-y friends are goosing him along with barrelhouse piano ("Local Boys") or improbably lovely guitar solos ("She Swallows It"). Don't believe the self-deprecating hype -- there's plenty of consequence to be heard here.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
One man's stellar legacy is another man's millstone, and until the day he dies Graham Parker will doubtless find his latest music compared (usually unfavorably) to the four superb albums he cut in the 1970s: Howlin' Wind, Heat Treatment, Stick to Me, and Squeezing Out Sparks. To hear some folks talk about his body of work, you'd think Parker's muse had turned tail and fled as soon as Squeezing Out Sparks was completed, but the truth is, despite a lot of poor choices made by record labels and producers over the years, Parker has been writing fine songs and making solid records on a regular basis for close to 30 years now, and Songs of No Consequence makes it clear he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. While Parker's 2004 set, Your Country, found him dipping his toes into country and blues-accented roots rock, Songs of No Consequence is a straightforward rock & roll session (something of a rarity for Bloodshot Records), with Parker backed by frequent touring partners the Figgs, who add a healthy level of spunk to the proceedings. Parker isn't as young as he once was, and he certainly knows it, as cuts like "Bad Chardonnay," "There's Nothing on the Radio," and "Did Everybody Just Get Old?" make abundantly clear, but don't get the silly idea that he's mellowing. Parker's smart, pithy wordplay and bemused annoyance with the world around him informs most of the cuts on this set, and not unlike 1996's Acid Bubblegum, his latter-day rage makes for some darkly humorous and well-pointed observations about the media, contemporary culture, and numerous manifestations of human frailty. In short, Graham Parker still has the sharp edges that made him memorable in the first place, and if you wonder when he's going to make another record like he did in his glory days, a quick spin of Songs of No Consequence might convince you that's a matter of common misconception about his music rather than any real career slump.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/07/2005
Label:
Bloodshot Records
UPC:
0744302012322
catalogNumber:
20123
Rank:
151597

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