Arizona Republic, June 28, 1996

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All This Useless Beauty

Elvis Costello & the Attractions

Salvatore Caputo

★★★★

There was a time when you could count on Elvis Costello for bracing, up-tempo and melodious blasts of sarcasm and bile that belied the sensitive soul beneath. There was as much body music as there was food for thought. Costello's been going in the opposite direction for years, drizzling a few despairing, acid lyrics into his mostly slower, sensitive tunes. All This Useless Beauty may be the most successful of the sensitive Costello records because the up-tempo tunes, few as they are, pulse with the intensity of old. (Maybe that's because his old-time backup, band, the Attractions, is back on board.) Such songs as "Complicated Shadows," "Shallow Grave" (his best songwriting collaboration with Paul McCartney) and the Byrds pastiche "You Bowed Down" (written for Roger McGuinn's 1991 Back From Rio album) act as exclamation points between the more introspective tunes.

Copyright 1996 Phoenix Newspapers, Inc.

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Arizona Republic, June 28, 1996


Salvatore Caputo reviews All This Useless Beauty.

Images

1996-06-28 Arizona Republic page D12.jpg
Page scan.

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