Mojo, October 1995

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Mojo Classic

UK & Ireland magazines


Blood & Chocolate / Deep Dead Blue

Elvis Costello & the Attractions / Elvis Costello & Bill Frisell

Richard Cook

Hard to decide whether Costello's scrupulous back-catalogue revivals are going with or against the man's standing. With the additional ballast of a raft of extra tracks on each CD, one feels even more intimidated by Costello's work-rate — all those stacks of songs, all that mass of barbed wordplay. The seven extra tracks on Blood & Chocolate do little but distract from the long dark night of what's gone before, the cruellest, most cheerless of this hard nut's hard-luck storybooks. There might be grimmer, nastier songs than "I Hope You're Happy Now" and "I Want You" but I'm not sure who's written them.

This 1986 session with the original Attractions was deliberately monochrome and rough-cut in its make-up, and the clanking brutality of it all might be some sine qua non of pub-rock. But Elvis could never leave it at that, and what you get is a savage eloquence that has survived 10 years on the shelf. A better pendant to it all than the bonus material is Deep Dead Blue, half an hour of EC singing alone with Bill Frisell's guitar at this summer's Meltdown Festival. There's nothing very notable in these quiet, temperate performances, but at least it rescues "Poor Napoleon" from its previous obscurity. It used to be one of the least-noticed tracks on... Blood & Chocolate.

Tags: Blood & ChocolateDeep Dead BlueThe AttractionsBill FrisellI Hope You're Happy NowI Want YouMeltdown FestivalPoor Napoleon

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Mojo, No. 23, October 1995

Richard Cook reviews Deep Dead Blue and the Rykodisc / Demon reissue of Blood & Chocolate.


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