It ain't easy being an angry young man. Graham Parker was overshadowed by his fellow English new wavers Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson in the late 1970s. They all shared a penchant for witty, snide lyrics and strong hooks, and for marrying pop songcraft with punk's roar. However, unlike the other two, Parker has always clung to his English pub rock roots. Squeezing Out Sparks, from 1979, was such a good album that it enabled him to cross over to AOR radio, but while his material has remained strong, he has been unable to build on that success since then. Like Nick Lowe, he seems to be both too mainstream and too eccentric for mass success.