It only takes a few bars of the opening Snake Oil Capital Of The World for the listener to get his or her bearings. The shuffle of the rhythm, the bite of the guitars and the venom of the voice ploughs a direct path back to the halcyon days of Howlin’ Wind. This is Graham Parker and, without a shadow of a doubt, The Rumour.
In the 33 years since their last album together, The Up Escalator, Parker has continued to make literate, acerbic records full of wit and insight, but only a handful have come close to the fierce energy of the band with which he made his bow. Three Chords Good, while obviously the work of much older men, nonetheless bristles with youthful swagger and attitude.
The base template remains the same: rock-soul hybrids delivered in razor-sharp packages (Live In Shadows, Last Bookstore In Town), acidic commentaries on the world’s shortcomings (Arlington’s Busy). Parker’s rarely been in better voice, buoyed by the presence of old friends intuitive to his innermost thoughts and intentions. On this evidence the UK tour in October will be phenomenal.