Calgary Herald, May 4, 2008

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Momofuko by Elvis Costello — back in
rock and roll mode


John Mackie

★★★★

Elvis Costello does things differently.

A couple of months ago, he went down to Los Angeles to guest on a new solo record by Jenny Lewis, the singer in Rilo Kiley. He got inspired, wrote a bunch of songs, called in his bandmates, then recorded his own record in six days.

Two weeks ago, the record was released without any fanfare or hype — but only as a vinyl LP and digital download. This week it comes out on compact disc, still without any fanfare or hype.

Given the bang-bang way it came together, it's not all that surprising that it's a bit of a bang-bang record: Elvis is back in rock and roll mode.

Well, at least on some songs — Elvis Costello records tend to be stylistically varied. The opening "No Hiding Place" is a stomper with a wicked guitar line, while the raucous "American Gangster Time" could be an outtake from This Year's Model, propelled by some wonderful new wave-'60s organ from Steve Neive. The nastiest number is "Stella Hurt," which is as gnarly and lowdown as anything Costello has ever recorded.

On the flip side, volume-wise, there's a lovely ballad about fatherhood called "My Three Sons" which features Elvis at his most tender and lyrically direct. "Song With Rose" (co-written by Rosanne Cash) has a majestic feel enhanced by the use of 12-string and steel guitar, while "Pardon Me Madam, My Name Is Eve" is a slinky, slow-burning ballad (the title came from Loretta Lynn, who Elvis recently wrote some songs with).

Jenny Lewis chips in some harmonies, and her band joins Costello's Imposters on a couple of songs, making for a nine-piece ensemble (a nonet). In a release Elvis describes the resulting sound as "a fine old noise," an apt description for all of Momofuku.

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Calgary Herald, May 4, 2008


John Mackie reviews Momofuku.

Images

Momofuku album cover.jpg

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