Cash Box, February 18, 1989

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Cash Box

US music magazines



Elvis Costello

Joe Williams

There's a weirdly diffuse quality to Costello's debut for Warner Bros., a mix of pop, jazz and Celtic elements whose surreal textures become more apparent with repeated listenings. It starts with a bang, the glockenspeil-driven "...This Town," before settling into the faintly swinging "Let Him Dangle" and the equally poisonous "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror" (one of four tunes featuring New Orleans' Dirty Dozen Bass Band.). The real winner and the current single is the gloriously hummable "Veronica," one of two collaborations with Paul McCartney and the most radio-ready thing that Elvis has done in years. Most of the the album leans toward a malevolent quiescence, exemplified by the Celtic strains of "Any King's Shilling," punctured every few songs by a fractured exercise like the funky "Chewing Gum" or the space-age skiffle of "Pads, Paws and Claws." Lyrically Costello is up to his usual tricks, but the emphasis here is more political than interpersonal, and at times he comes as close to raving indignation as a man of his intelligence can get. "The Irish question" rears its head in a couple songs, while almost everything else is a general indictment of a world gone drunk on its own cruelty, ignorance and artifice. It's an album both powerful and subtle, with musical tricks to match its linguistic shrewdness. Recommended.


Cash Box, February 18, 1989

Joe Williams reviews Spike.


1989-02-18 Cash Box page 14 clipping 01.jpg

1989-02-18 Cash Box cover.jpg 1989-02-18 Cash Box page 14.jpg
Cover and page scan.


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