Picks and Pans Review: Steady Nerves

updated 05/13/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/13/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Graham Parker and the Shot

Parker, a sort of pub-crawling Elvis Costello, is currently on tour, opening for Eric Clapton in the kind of arena he needs to reach a deservedly larger audience. After all, he's been producing robust, original R&B-influenced rock for nearly a decade without much commercial success. On this, his most upbeat LP, Parker has not abandoned his distinctly astringent style; he still sounds sulky and introspective, but he has softened his tone. There are also some surprisingly florid touches in his normally stark songwriting, such as the Motown breakdown near the end of Wake Up (Next to You), which is preceded by a Clarence Clemons-like sax solo from Lou Cortelezzi. Guitarist Brinsley Schwarz, the only holdover from Parker's former backup band, the Rumour, dovetails neatly with keyboardist George Small, bassist Kevin Jenkins and drummer Michael Braun. Parker is a peppery rocker who has paid his dues. Steady Nerves may be a good time to catch his act, while he's on his best behavior. (Elektra)

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