Circus, February 6, 1979

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Circus

US rock magazines

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Armed Forces

Elvis Costello

Circus

There's always a question after a maverick star sets himself a style — whether he'll expand beyond it to a more general audience. The opening song here, "Accidents Will Happen," will be a shocker for many people; it's more Phil Spector than Buddy Holly. Costello's production (Nick Lowe's really) throughout is more complicated than on the previous two Costello discs. String synthesizers and heavy keyboard work have been added to what was formerly guitar, bass and drums only. "Oliver's Army" could be, of all things, a Top-40 AM hit, because it has melody hooks (several) and a kooky, Roy-Wood-does-the-fifties piano riff. There's an inventiveness to much of this album that wasn't there before — listen to the number of theme variations on "Green Shirt" — that depart from the rigidity of other tunes. Costello's switch of title from Emotional Fascism to Armed Forces may indicate a final willingness to meet the mass audience. By the time you get to "Party Girl" you'll realize this is a dazzling album.

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Circus, February 6, 1979


Circus previews Armed Forces.

Images

1979-02-06 Circus page 15 clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

1979-02-06 Circus cover.jpg 1979-02-06 Circus page 05.jpg 1979-02-06 Circus page 15.jpg
Cover and page scans.

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