Graham Parker

Deepcut to Nowhere

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Ever since 1990's Struck By Lightning, Graham Parker has been retreating into domesticity -- and, along with that, his audience became more selective. There were the occasional forays into rock & roll, on Acid Bubblegum and on tours where he was accompanied by the Figgs, but he turned into a genuine singer/songwriter by essaying miniature songs about daily travails, current events, and thoughts that have crossed Parker's mind. That's pretty much the case here, but there's a bit of a difference -- these are "dark days" as he says on the opening salvo, and there are a number of dark undercurrents running throughout the record. By the end, when he's concluding with "It Takes a Village Idiot" and "Last Stop Is Nowhere," there are strong suggestions that things are not well on the domestic front, stating obliquely but clearly the themes that have been running through much of the uneasy songs on the album. That gives it a different thematic spin than a lot of his '90s records, but the sound is essentially the same and the music, if anything, is more insular than before (appropriate for the inward, pained songs). This means that this is a record that's just for the converted -- the ones who will spin the record several times to unlock the meanings of the record, not minding that the songs aren't immediate (or that memorable outside of the lyrics) and that the record sounds very similar to every record he's made in the past ten years.

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