Graham Parker & The Goldtops
Cloud Symbols 100%
New Wave survivor still asking questions.
Graham Parker hasn’t lost his knack for nifty near-rhymes – such as ‘Congo’ with ‘long ago’ or ‘dreaming’ with ‘window cleaning’ – and his all-live vocals remain as richly rough-edged as ever.
What’s ‘new’ on Cloud Symbols is the Goldtops (despite The Rumour reunion ending in 2015, guitarist Martin Belmont is still part of the gang as are the old brass section, who favour six tracks with plenty of swing). Celebrity fan Judd Apatow nudged Parker for new songs to include in various TV projects, and the gritty veteran obliges with straightforward numbers which don’t reinvent any wheels but flesh out the blues/pub-rock format with quick wit and keen observation. There’s an easy, breezy confidence to the reflective Maida Hill and the languid Love Comes, while Every Saturday Night recalls the controlled R&B bravado of Squeezing Out Sparks.
Sadly, engineer/producer Neil Brockbank died midway through making the album, and the team determined to finish it in his honour.