Can this he the same Elvis Costello who belted out "Mystery Dance" in breakneck time, and stuttered through "Blame it on Cain?"
Can this he the same Costello we've grown to adore?
Yep. sure is.
Costello's latest album shows a new confidence for the former computer programmer. Some of his vocal quirks are still there, but most of his herky-jerky delivery has been replaced with a new-found smoothness, a definite confidence that was missing on his first two albums.
The result is at least as good as This Year's Model and My Aim is True. However, some die-hard Costello fans may take a couple minutes longer to realize this album is good than they did with the other two.
Costello takes his style into a new held with this attempt. Where he would emulate and play off a Buddy Holly fascination in the past, he tackles new territory here, turning a mid-60's Mersey beat into New Wave.
"Oliver's Army" is a prime example. if you don't listen to the Punk influence in the words you'd think Gerry and the Pacemakers, or Freddie and the Dreamers had sneaked a cut onto the album.
"Senior Service" is a definite winner too, and "Accidents Will Happen" and "Goon Squad" are solid contenders for FM airplay.
One good thing about Costello is he's not afraid to change a little, to explore new boundaries. Producer Nick Lowe isn't afraid to let him try either.
Groups like Costello and the Attractions, Dire Straits and Graham Parker and the Rumour (also produced by Lowe) are definitely the second wave of the 60s British Invasion.