Picks and Pans Review: The Up Escalator
After last year's searing breakthrough set, Squeezing Out Sparks, where could the Briton refuel his imagination? The answer is L.A. While stuck in a Sunset Boulevard traffic jam, he observes, "The people sit there/ Cameras without action/ I can't see the point/ But I see the attraction." His comment on the laid-back hedonism: "Just get to feeling/ Like a wheel without traction/ Stupefaction!" Parker's voice, like his vision of the world, can burn, but his music invigorates. One reason is the streamlined strength in his melodies and rhythms. Another is his back-up band, the Rumour, with Brinsley Schwarz's guitar defining the nerve of each song. (Bruce Springsteen's much-talked-about harmonizing on Endless Night is, in fact, almost inaudible.) But what redeems Parker is his refusal to submit to the despair he confesses and the honesty in his love songs. When he sings, in Jolie Jolie, "I don't use teardrops as weapons by choice/ They just fall out from my eyes," Parker is so believable it's painful.
On Newsstands Now
- Amy Robach: 'I'm Lucky to Be Alive'
- Paul Walker: Inside His Tragic Death
- Julia Roberts: Choosing Family Over Hollywood
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine