Friday, February 4, 2011

335. Squeezing out Sparks. A great title

Album: Squeezing out Sparks
Artist: Graham Parker and the Rumour
Year: 1979
Genre: Rock.


  1. Discovering Japan
  2. Local Girls
  3. Nobody Hurts You
  4. You Can't Be Too Strong
  5. Passion Is No Ordinary Word
  6. Saturday Nite Is Dead
  7. Love Gets You Twisted
  8. Protection
  9. Waiting for the UFOs
  10. Don't Get Excited

I've never met a Graham Parker fan. I haven't actually gone on a hunt for one (I wouldn't know what to use as bait) but I've never encountered one in the flesh. I wonder what they look like? Are they mainly English? I lived in England for a while and never saw any. Perhaps it's a more regional thing. I never got to Bath while I was there. Maybe Bath is just swimming with Graham Parker fans. Who knows?

I only ask because I wonder what they're like. Parker's music is sort of punk but then enough not-punk to be sort of not-punk as well. It's fairly pop in it's sensibility but his voice isn't going to win over any pop fans. The guitars are clean enough to be pop and the piano sounds like it's being played by a pop musician rather than a punk one (what the hell does a punk piano player look like?) His music is a weird kind of hybrid that reminds me of Elvis Costello, which isn't a bad thing.

Sparks is an up-tempo album that was obviously written to be played to clubs full of dancing fools enjoying the music and singing along to the catchy choruses. But the dancers probably liked to think of themselves as the sort of people who didn't dance along and sing to a catchy chorus.

I can't really see too many people getting rabidly enthusiastic about this release in the same way that people obsess over Radiohead, bacon, Kiss, Stephanie Myer novels or Michael Jackson. It's a pop/rock album that has catchy moments but as a whole gets a bit samey after a while. If you're a Graham Parker fan (or you know one, or you know what to use as bait in order to trap one) can you please get in touch by commenting below? I'd really love to know what the appeal is. I'm dying to understand what it is I'm missing.

Influenced by: Post Punk and new wave
Influenced: Post Post Punk and even newer wave

Highlight: Saturday nite is dead. Catchy fun.
Lowlight: Waiting for the UFO's too much like everything else at a time when we needed something a bit different.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: Interestingly the majority of the Amazon Customer reviews (and there weren't many) focused on the song "You can't be too strong" and just how pro or anti abortion it is. It makes for intriguing but not very funny reading.


  1. Well, you caught perhaps the biggest fish as I have seen GP perhaps 50 times. Forget the SOS album, it is great cacophony but not near his best work. But if you want to hear the 3 most important albums of the rock era go to the early 90's stuff. 12 Haunted episodes is the most important American Album ever and would take a book to describe properly. Think Bob Dylan meets Alex Detoqueville.

  2. I tried to post yesterday but I think it went into cyberspace. I note that you say GP isn't this and isn't that so you reject him. But that is why we in Parkerville LOVE him. When all those acts you mention will be long forgotten, there will still be GP fans, although SOS will not be the work of his that they talk about.

    And You Can't Be too Strong may not be about abortion at all. Maybe it is a metaphor for what happens when your artistic work is destroyed by the suits as what happened to his previous album. Who knows?

  3. Thanks for posting. Sorry you're earlier comment didn't appear straight away. I moderate comments to filter spam so posted comments take a day or two to appear on the site.

    Thanks for your feedback about GP's other work. I'll hunt down 12 Haunted Episodes and give it a listen. I have to say I'm really impressed with anyone who has seen any artist 50 times.

  4. Personally, I just thought it was weird you'd mention Stephanie Meyer with all of the other stuff you mentioned. :)