Despite an excellent career fuelled by British pub rock, post-punk energy and Parker's cutting lyrics coupled to memorable and often soulful songs, GP&R never really got the accolades (beyond critical praise, especially for their live shows) they deserved in the late 70s/early 80s. Then Parker moved to America and continued to release interesting if low-profile albums.
This reunion astutely doesn't attempt to compete with the fury of old but rather connects to the clear-eyed, sometimes quietly seething cynicism when Parker married it to swinging folk-rock rhythms (the title track, the Dylanesque A Lie Gets Halfway 'Round the World and Arlington's Busy) or became edgy (Sirens in the Night). His lyrics remain diamond-hard (check the acutely observed Last Bookstore in Town), there's some optimism (She Rocks Me), customary ballads (Old Soul, That Moon Was Low), some slippery jazz-influenced rock (Live in the Shadows) and the Rumour slip in seamlessly because this is what they were born for.
This won't mean anything to those who never knew GP&R when they were head-to-head with the young Costello and Ian Dury, but old fans will delight in how contemporary, and sometimes urgent, this sounds, despite its familiarity.
Verdict: Dad-rock with street-cred and a slightly bitter heart
- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz