Punk-Pop: Elvis Costello lets it rip again

punk pop
Elvis Costello lets it rip again

Elvis Costello at the indoor music festival Baloise Session 2014 in Basel. Photo: Georgios Kefalas/KEYSTONE/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

67 years and not a bit quiet: The punk pop Elvis is making a lot of noise again, Costello has not radiated so much energy for a long time. He keeps the fans waiting for new ballads with Burt Bacharach.

This man is supposed to be 67 years old? It’s hard to believe when you hear Elvis Costello’s new album bursting with youthful energy.

On “The Boy Named If” he sounds almost as snotty as he did in the late ’70s. At that time, the singer with the not at all rebellious appearance entered the stage as a kind of “King of Punk ‘n’ Roll” alongside rough guys like the Sex Pistols or The Clash, to quickly develop into one of the best songwriters in pop history.

power pop record

After the easy-listening masterpiece “Look Now” (2018) and the somewhat unsteady “Hey Clockface” (2020), Costello does another volte – and presents one of the roughest power pop records of his career. It contains 13 songs in a good 50 minutes running time, on which he himself – and especially the listener who is amazed by so much verbal power – can hardly catch his breath. If you look back on your own youth, then like this. There are also a few quieter pieces («Paint The Red Rose Blue», «Mr. Crescent»), but overall, rousing uptempo sounds dominate – starting with the noisy «Farewell, OK».

He has a strong band by his side

So Costello, whose nasal voice you always had to like, sings at the highest level. With The Imposters he also has a world-class band at his side – and he is aware of this privilege. “You’re great, three of us have played together for 45 years,” he recently said gratefully. “However, there are many bands that have played together for a long time and have forgotten how to just let go.” His three companions – Steve Nieve on keyboards, drummer Pete Thomas and bassist Davey Faragher – continue to be “deadly” with their virtuosity and power.

If you prefer the ballad crooner Costello, you have to hope for a follow-up album to «The Boy Named If». Another collaboration with Sixties icon Burt Bacharach, who has already shaped earlier albums such as “Painted From Memory” (1998) and “Look Now”, could soon see the light of day in the pop world. “Burt and I went to Capitol Studios this summer with a 30-piece orchestra to record two new songs,” the Brit recently told the Guardian. “He’s 93 now and his intensity is undiminished.” The same can be said for sure about Elvis Costello.

The album “The Boy Named If” by Elvis Costello & The Imposters will be released on Friday (January 14) via Universal Music.


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