London Daily Mail, November 9, 1994

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London Daily Mail

UK & Irish newspapers

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Muffled or not, Elvis is still a great attraction

Elvis Costello And The Attractions / Shepherd's Bush Empire

Spencer Bright

Together again and mates once more, Elvis Costello And The Attractions set out to prove that they may be edging 40 but young whippersnappers don't have half the fighting spirit.

However, there's an element of protesting too much in all this and not allowing the folds of age to allow for some reflection.

Elvis and chums were somewhat frenetic in their delivery of old and new. This was not helped by a sound system so muffled that I couldn't help wondering whether this was by design, just to recreate that old pub-rock, new-wave feel, but decided in the end that someone had miscalculated.

Costello was in one of his no-mercy moods, flourishing a lacerating fuzzy guitar on "I Want You" and a punk scream that set the pogoing tone for certain sections of the crowd.

Head bowed and legs apart, the pose harked back to the stroppy bespectacled youth who first made waves in the late Seventies.

He wasn't about to slacken for songs like "Watching The Detectives" that might have benefited from melodic contemplation And even when he strapped on an acoustic guitar and you expected a little respite, he was just as harsh with "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror."

This last, and other songs from the recent album Brutal Youth. are extraordinary in that despite being new, they feel like familiar friends.

"Pony Street" had all the lyrical and rhythmic variety you expect of a good Costello song.

"Rocking Horse Road" was where it all finally gelled — classic Attractions interplay with the superb Pete Thomas's drums, Bruce Thomas's backbone bass, a plucked guitar and Steve Sieve's pulsating keyboards.

Only here, and during the encores with standards like "Alison" and "Oliver's Army," when they had nothing to prove but how to have a good time, did the music find its own comfortable, unselfconscious pace.

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Daily Mail, November 9, 1994


Spencer Bright reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Friday, November 4, 1994, Shepherds Bush Empire, London, England.

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