Melody Maker, February 3, 1979

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Melody Maker


Oliver's Army

Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Ian Birch

The one and only single of the week

The choice is too obvious? I make no apologies. Since its release, Armed Forces (whence this cut comes) hasn't been off my turntable.

The first side, in particular, is spectacularly good, the songs presenting a tighter response to the album's underlying thread of "emotional fascism" — less why and more how feelings can be manipulated in a multitude of ways.

Costello cherishes the diversity and power of words, yet, paradoxically, his appeal partly lies in the fact that he hasn't yet been able to master his ebullient wordplay and so the occasional clutter of phrases becomes as provocative as the more controlled set pieces. The Attractions get better and better all the time, while Nick Lowe's knowledge of the subtler areas of production grows apace.

Plus there's a surprise on the flip-side, where Costello does a version of the Rogers & Hart standard, "My Funny Valentine." Like his ventures into C&W, it serves two purposes: first, to show that he will not be pigeonholed, and second, to try out his voice in a new format. Having said all that, I can't admit to liking it much. No matter. Get the album and have those fingerprints attack your imagination.

Tags: Oliver's Army (single)Armed ForcesEmotional FascismNick LoweMy Funny ValentineRichard RodgersLorenz HartIan Birch

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Melody Maker, February 3, 1979

Ian Birch reviews "Oliver's Army," which is named "Single of the week."


1979-02-03 Melody Maker page 30.jpg
Page scan.

1979-02-03 Melody Maker cover.jpg


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