Denison University Denisonian, September 16, 1983

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Elvis Costello has a problem


Rob Cross

Elvis Costello has had a problem since last summer. Following up an album like Imperial Bedroom would be a task for anyone. It was one of the best albums of last year and a personal high point for Costello. On Punch The Clock, he retracts the orchestrations from Imperial Bedroom and adds the T.K.O. Horns. The horns light up the songs, as the orchestrations did on Imperial Bedroom. From the opening song to the last note Costello's backing band the Attractions, prove their power.

The incredible drumming of Pete Thomas is felt throughout every song, as are Steve Nieve's (pronounced Naive) keyboards, which are a highlight of the album. His keyboards echo through "Let Them All Talk" like he commands the whole show. And in "Shipbuilding," Costello's song about the Falklands, he weaves his abilities with Costello's powerful voice to bring out one of the best tracks of the album. "It is worth it / a new winter coat and shoes for the wife / and a bicycle on the boy's birthday / It's just a rumor that was spread around town / by the women and children / Soon we'll be shipbuilding..."

Probably the best song on the album is a single Costello released before the album under the assumed name "The Imposter." "Pills and Soap" is the type of song Costello has been know to produce. It is a lyrical masterpiece. "They talked to the sister, the father and the mother / With a microphone in one hand and a chequebook in the other... The sugarcoated pill is getting bitterer still / You think your country needs you but you know it never will..."

Punch The Clock is not another Imperial Bedroom or Get Happy. The backing vocals on "Every Day I Write the Book" get a little tiresome and there are a couple of tracks that are not up to par for Costello. Still, it is an above average album with many high points and is one of the best of 1983.

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The Denisonian, September 16, 1983


Rob Cross reviews Punch The Clock.

Images

1983-09-16 Denison University Denisonian page 05 clipping 01.jpg
Photo by Nick Knight.

1983-09-16 Denison University Denisonian page 05.jpg
Page scan.

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