Elvis Costello is an artist known to disregard the conventional means of expression. Imperial Bedroom, Costello's recent album is argumentive proof. A far cry from the country-flavored 1981 release, Almost Blue, Imperial Bedroom ventures in fascinating, new directions. The irreplaceable Attractions interpret Costello's latest compositions with unique imagination and vitality, Vocals and melodies are prominent on Imperial Bedroom, in contrast to previous albums. The absence of a familiar heavy backbeat paves the way for an uncommonly fresh sound. Multi-talented keyboardist Steve Nieve's colorful orchestrations and intricate melodies add an exciting new dimension to the album. In addition to Imperial Bedroom's vibrant new sound, there is a serious emphasis placed on what is being expressed in words.
Costello's wit, humor and unusual perspective are reflected in his distinctive interpretations of various social situations. In "The Loved Ones," Costello cleverly croons, "Don't get smart or sarcastic / He snaps back just like elastic / Spare us the theatrics and the verbal gymnastics / We break wise guys just like matchsticks." In "Town Crier," Elvis portrays human weakness, "I'm the town crier, and everybody knows / I'm just a little down, with a lifetime to go / Maybe you don't believe my heart's in the right place / Why don't you take a good look at my face."
Imperial Bedroom is everything but a sleeper of an album. Costello's prolific writing earned him a reputation as an uncompromising artist. Judging by the initial success of Imperial Bedroom, and the increasing press coverage, well deserved recognition has finally arrived for the man with the red shoes.