Daily Pennsylvanian, February 8, 1979

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Armed Forces

Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Daniel Gold

It's time once again for Elvis Costello's annual gift of music. Armed Forces, his third album in as many years, has been viewed as a potential mass attention-grabber that might well launch Costello's career into higher stardom strata. The mission, unfortunately, ought to have been scrubbed. Elvis' strength has always been his ability to synthesize the sounds of early Sixties pop-rock; among others, his influences include the fervent vocals of Buddy Holly, the slick production of the Beatles, and the angry bad boy posings of the Rolling Stones. As a result, Costello's best work contains some of the catchiest power pop hooks to grace the FM dial. Armed Forces has a great deal of interesting material, but overall Elvis has given us nothing this time but imitations of himself. "Big Boys," for example, one of the better offerings, contains riffs from both Costello's "Lipstick Vogue" and "Less than Zero"; "Green Shirt" uses the tempo and tension of "The Beat." None of the tunes is bad, but neither are any particularly memorable. Costello and his band, the Attractions, also seem to have been locked in a studio, forced to create weird mixes and overdubs. Although the effect is deliberate, the sound underwhelms. Newcomers to Elvis are referred to either of his earlier albums; Armed Forces is a dud.

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The Daily Pennsylvanian, 34th Street Magazine, February 8, 1979


Daniel Gold reviews Armed Forces.

Images

1979-02-08 Daily Pennsylvanian 34th Street Magazine page 08 clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

Photo by Roberta Bayley.
1979-02-08 Daily Pennsylvanian 34th Street Magazine photo 01 rb.jpg


1979-02-08 Daily Pennsylvanian 34th Street Magazine page 08.jpg
Page scan.

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