Sometimes an artist is anointed a 'legend.' Sometimes this artist's body of work is so consistently lauded, of such ongoing interest and creativity, people take the level of craft for granted. Sometimes such an artist, after a time of flying beneath the radar, emerges with a run of stunning material ascending beyond time and genre. Sometimes this artist casts a shadow large enough they are known by just their initials. GP is such an artist and this is his time.
The prolific veteran continues to cover a lot of musical territory on an album that resonates with the sound of his glory years of the mid-to-late 1970s. On the first two songs, Parker recalls his breakthrough with Dylanesque phrasing on "I Discovered America" before flashing forward to the current state of British pop celebrity on "England's Greatest Clown." There's his trademark sardonicism in the socially-conscious singalongs of "Ambiguous" and "Stick to the Plan," while other highlights include songs of resilience ("Suspension Bridge," "Hard Side of the Rain") and redemption ("Somebody Saved Me"). At almost eight-and-a-half minutes, "The Other Side of the Reservoir" is epic by Parker's standards, as he follows Van Morrison into the mystic. The closing "All Being Well" could pass as a traditional Irish benediction. With arrangements largely built around Parker's acoustic guitar, the predominantly midtempo material doesn't rock as hard as Parker has, but the hooks sink deep into the soul. --Don McLeese