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Turn It Up

Turn It Up: November 30, 2012

Three Chords Good (Primary Wave) is far from the only thing to recommend about this album, the first that Graham Parker has recorded with the full line-up of The Rumour in 31 years. During that time, Parker has played on and off with individual members while churning out a consistently great string of records. Coming off a near decade-long affiliation with Chicago alt-country imprint Bloodshot, the acerbic Englishman took this opportunity with his old mates to produce a record that easily fits alongside earlier classics like Howlin’ Wind and Squeezing Out Sparks. These dozen songs range from the reggae-kissed cynicism of “Snake Oil Capital of the World” and the wistful closer “Last Bookstore In Town” and its oddly effective kazoo solo to the R&B-ish “Long Emotional Ride” and “Arlington’s Busy,” a folkly anti-war anthem destined to be a classic that addresses the mess the Afghan situation has become via lines like, “Tillman got hit and fell down like a stone/but they covered it up like a dog, coverin’ a bone.”