The only thing that keeps Elvis Costello interesting these days is his refusal, to include a lyric sheet with his LPs. His voice and the nature of his singing style make it almost impossible for a listener to decipher his words.
This album is just as melodic as Armed Forces, Costello's last effort. It contains no fewer than 20 tough, quirky tunes, that could have become boring very quickly had it not been for Nick Lowe's pop-oriented production work.
Costello sings with almost total lack of expression and this coldness distances him from his material. Linda Ronstadt may not understand his politics, his irony or his misanthropy, but she manages to convey more emotion with her interpretations of his songs. Now that Costello has lost his curiosity value, his music seems considerably less compelling than that of fellow British pub rocker Graham Parker.