John Mellencamp, Stephen King, Bruce Springsteen, Allen Toussaint, Brian Eno, Lucinda Williams and Paul McCartney are just some of the luminaries Declan Patrick McManus has collaborated with over the course of his prolific and unpredictable career. If he wanted to crassly capitalise on his "notoriety," he might have chosen a controversial re-release of "Tramp The Dirt Down" after the death of Margaret Thatcher, which apparently did a roaring trade on iTunes. He's a far classier act than that.
Costello has instead teamed up with Philadelphia hip hop band The Roots and their enigmatic drummer ?uestlove who has also served as a musical director for Jay-Z and Eminem. The Roots bring subtle funky beats and a slinky style to Costello's beautifully bittersweet voice. They compliment each other so gorgeously that it's hard to believe that this is their first collaboration. The Roots seem to bring out the tenderness and fragility in Costello, while Elvis elicits a revitalised sense of powerful understatement from the Philadelphia crew.
"Walk Us Uptown" has been doing the rounds and is the perfect opener, while the equally standout "Tripwire" floats along on a delicate barely there melody. Initially, Wise Up And Other Songs may seem like a bit of a challenge at 55 minutes long, but is well worth persevering with. An intriguing team have produced a superb record packed full of great music.