Glasgow Herald, September 11, 2013

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Glasgow Herald

UK & Ireland newspapers

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Wise Up Ghost

Elvis Costello and The Roots

Keith Bruce

Given the punk era's "back to basics" ethos, it is a paradox that the two most significant figures from that time — David Byrne in the US and Elvis Costello in the UK — have proved to be the most creative in their musical colloborations, most inventive in making best use of developing technologies, and most adept at revisiting their own back pages in revealing ways, while the previous generation (The Stones, Dylan) have ploughed a much narrower furrow.

In partnership with Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, Costello has made an album that sounds absolutely contemporary with its looping beats and samples, but on which the dominant instrument is often a Fender Rhodes piano, and which is packed with references to his long career that will surely continue to reveal themselves. "Sugar Won't Work" nods to his post-Katrina New Orleans excursion with Allen Toussaint, while "Stick Out Your Tongue" explicitly reworks "Pills and Soap," a song released under alias The Imposter exactly 30 years ago.

My current favourite, "Wake Me Up," perfectly deploys horns and guitar, but it will be succeeded soon by another on a collection packed with riches.


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The Herald, September 11, 2013


Keith Bruce reviews Wise Up Ghost.


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