Day 78: Graham Parker – Squeezing Out Sparks

17 May


My dad has been on an Elvis Costello kick lately.  Yeah, I love that Costello record that I listened to a couple of weeks ago, but I had no idea that there were so many people inspired—pretty directly—by that guy.  The past two dad-rock records have sounded like Costello impersonators made them.  Originality is a big deal for me, but I’m also far too lazy to do the research that would be required to form some kind of English pub-singer time line.  I may have been a bit unfair last week when I panned Joe Jackson.  He just sounded really unoriginal to me.  I’ll try to avoid that this Dad-Rock Tuesday, and judge Graham Parker’s Squeezing Out Sparks based solely on what went into my ears.

When it comes down to it, I don’t mind Graham Parker.  Yeah, I’d probably survive if I never heard Squeezing Out Sparks again, but it’s not like this was an unpleasant listening experience.

Parker’s got a unique enough voice to keep me interested.  At first listen, it sounded like his lyrics were decent too.  Unfortunately, as happens far too often with Swole Ear, I don’t have enough time to closely examine lyrics.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day to really tear a record apart.

Instrumentally, Parker was good enough as well; it’s all pretty standard.  Guitar, drums and vocals dominate over the record, and never go too far out of the box.  It’s nothing brilliant, but they get the job done.

Ultimately, this record—just like this post—is adequate.  Neither are awful, but let’s just say that they won’t be making the Swole Ear Hall of Fame.


2 Responses to “Day 78: Graham Parker – Squeezing Out Sparks”

  1. Dave Chops May 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    Swole Ear, you have to work on your chronology. Graham Parker had a first album out -that sounded not too different from E. Costello – in 1976. It is hard to argue that Elvis shaped Graham Parker’s sound when G.P.’s album came out more than a year earlier. However, the two had lots of friends in common: G.P.’s first two albums were produced by Nick Lowe (who also produced the first 4-5 E. Costello albums)and members of the Rumour had played in Nick Lowe’s old pub-rock band, Brynsley Schwartz. I love Squeezing Out Sparks and saw GP and the Rumour tour this album in 1979 (opening for Cheap Trick but I went for them). I say, give it another listen. And also check out Nick Lowe’s first solo album, Pure Pop for Now People. And Parker’s first album, Howling Wind.

    • Yuanny Dollar May 24, 2011 at 9:23 am #

      Mr. Chops is right. Two minutes on wicki while you were being bored by this album would have set you straight. He’s right about Nick Lowe too. His new stuff is deadly dull, but the old stuff has something to say (not to mention the whole Carlene Carter episode, which makes him one cool Englishman). Why did Elvis Costello go so much farther? I don’t know. Some Pop Culture doctoral candidate could write 200 pages on that topic, but it might just be because life aint fair.

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