One thing we know for sure, he is not some sort of impersonator trying to cash in on the death of Elvis Presley.
Elvis Costello had his first name long before last August. Whether he was born with it or not, we don't know. "As far as I'm concerned, it's pointless talking about the past. I'd just rather talk about the future, you know," he told an interviewer.
It is known that he is in his early 20's and made enough ripples in the British rock scene to get his album, My Aim Is True (Columbia), released in this country. The record could have a lot to say about Costello's future.
It is a good, solid, hard-rocking album without the pretentious posings that have come to characterize the so-called "New Wave" musicians of the punk rock school.
Costello displays the enthusiasm and energy that those bands try to create, but he does it with a musical competence and lyrical sensitivity that the punks usually scoff at. The result resembles more the Bruce Springsteen-Southside Johnny-Graham Parker school of creative nostalgia.
Costello manages to achieve that sound without heavy production or deep instrumentation. It sounds as though the band is limited to guitars, bass, drums and simple keyboards. You have to go by what it sounds like because there are no credits on the album. Costello says the people who helped out will know who they are and aren't the type to worry about credits.
Somebody does deserve recognition for the tight, powerful, sparse music that characterizes these songs, all written by Costello. His singing fits right in — good, on key, but with a enough of a Dylan-Jagger sneer in it to make it raucous.
Costello's voice sounds a lot like his fellow Britisher Graham Parker, and his songs are reminiscent of Parker's hard rockers. Parker, despite critical acclaim and three solid albums, has yet to achieve the kind of stardom he deserves. Maybe they're warmed up and ready for Elvis.