YES! Geoff Palmer. I am glad that someone is finally shining a light on one of the great 80s problems! Kids today with their Shazam and their lyric videos will never know the pain of sitting there after school listening to the top 40 records that they’d taped the previous Sunday, in a bid to pick out their favourites. Then, once they had, transcribing the lyrics in an exercise book (no idea why we did this, looking back, but we did!) only to find when we actually bought the cassette for Skid Row’s debut, we’d got all the words for “18 And Life” wrong anyway.
Enter our boy Geoff to discuss this very real issue on “Many More Drugs”. Apparently the teenage Palmer was desperately searching for the Dickies song ‘Manny Moe And Jack’, and got nowhere. Like I say, as much as I hate the internet, it has its uses.
There’s that type of innocence about Palmer’s work. Not only is it the work of a proper fan, it also harks back to a simpler time in its sonics too. Like, the opener is a proper power pop fizz-bomb – a banger, I think is the current vernacular – but (and this is meant as a compliment) it is not from 2021, it seems. I’d have been watching this on Top Of The Pops in about 1982 (and loving it too!)
He just naturally has something of The Ramones melody, of bubblegum pop, “Don’t Be” has harmonies from the Grease Soundtrack – even when he asks you to kiss him where the sun don’t shine, it sounds polite – but this is a varied collection.
“This Monkey” could have been on college radio next to REM’s early stuff, and “Tomorrow” almost deliberately looks back to the past – and is one of the sweetest little love songs anywhere, a fact the title track rather counterbalances by being a dumping song. Albeit one that is beyond catchy.
“Count Me In” is a beauty. A punky thing that reckons going to hell wouldn’t be all bad. “Cos I could party with GG, Darby Crash or Johnny Cash”. He’s got a point. “Jammed Up” tests the waters of singer/songwriter stuff. Country in the way that Supersuckers are, it proves that, by and large Geoff Palmer can write a three minute pop song better than anyone.
“A Hard Day’s Life” dials into some of the punk side – and fitted rather well when it came on as I was driving home from work tonight – while the acoustic, fireside “What Would Paul Westerberg Do?” (the album is produced by David Minehan who worked with The Replacements), seems like a decent maxim to live by, while this most retro sounding of fun records ends with “The Apartment Song”, which to these ears at least, sounds like one of those things Springsteen writes and doesn’t use, and you wish he did. It’s one of the best things here.
“Retro” is a word that seems to have infused the record and this review. Hell, there was even a cassette version, but actually, all “Charts And Graphs” is, is the work of a gifted artist doing what comes as second nature.
“Charts And Graphs” was released by Stardumb Records on vinyl, Rum Bar Records on CD, and Memorable But Not Honorable on cassette