The CD cover shows Elvis Costello walking along a rain-soaked cobblestone street, rain coat flapping at his knees, looking decidedly morose and surly. The CD title double-jobs as a pun, then (it`s grim up North, etc.), but the music is far from sullen; indeed, if anything, it`s Costello`s most joyous record in a long time. The musical template is down-beat, the terrain very much song-orientated, the instrumentation veering from eloquent, elegaic jazz tones to pop-inflected string arranged tunes. If you think more along the lines of Costello`s collaborative work with Burt Bacharach and The Brodsky Quartet than anything else he`s done (although long-term fans might recognise slight thematic similarities with "Shot With His Own Gun," from 1981`s Trust), then you`ll have some idea of the sterling work on display here.
Initially concerned with late-night musings on the resigned nature of love lost ("You Left Me In The Dark"), North soon becomes more indelibly ingrained with love found ("Still," "Let Me Tell You About Her)", resulting in an assuredly focused and warm-hearted record.