One of the strangest sleeve designs that I've ever come across hides what is essentially a very straightforward record. The twelve songs all bear the familiar Costello hallmarks — melodies that stick in your mind after the first hearing, and lyrics that take you just a little longer to sort out.
On top of this there is a live E.P. which includes two of his best songs from the past and a much simpler version of "Accidents will Happen," the first song on the album. The decision to include two versions of this number invites comparisons between Costello's sound in the studio and on stage. The live tracks come over just as well, and it must be said that Nick Lowe's studio production goes over the top in places. However, as Phil Spector proved on many occasions, this isn't always a bad thing, and "Oliver's Army," the track with the fullest sound, is also one of the best on the album, and an obvious single.
Steve Naive's keyboards dominate most of the tracks, often hiding Elvis's guitar, but never taking your attention away from the compelling, though sometimes puzzling lyrics.
On the whole it seems to be a worthy follow-up to This Year's Model and confirms Elvis Costello's place as one of today's most intriguing performers.