AllMusic Staff Picks

The Fine Art of Surfacing

The Boomtown Rats

The Fine Art of Surfacing

October, 1979

New Wave

Ever passionate, wry, and quirky, Bob Geldolf's punky new wave combo from the '70s and '80s reunited in 2013 (without early guitarist Gerry Cott or Johnnie Fingers) and has been touring in Europe, though without releasing new material. Sounds like an excuse to revisit or discover the idiosyncratic band at their best; their third LP features the Rats' sole U.S.-charting song, "I Don't Like Mondays," and the enthusiastic "Having My Picture Taken."

- Marcy Donelson

Squeezing Out Sparks

Graham Parker / Graham Parker & the Rumour

Squeezing Out Sparks

March, 1979

Album Rock

Parker's 1979 breakthrough album was not-so-coincidentally the most straightforward album he'd cut to date -- no horns, spare production, simplified arrangements, and the emphasis placed squarely on Parker's songs. And those songs were more than enough to carry an album; between the paranoia of "Discovering Japan," the steely heartbreak of "Love Gets You Twisted," the moral quandaries of "You Can't Be Too Strong," and the barely contained rage of "Protection," this may be the best batch of tunes Parker ever wrote, and the Rumor's precise attack serves them brilliantly.

- Mark Deming