Mojo, October 2004

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The Delivery Man

Elvis Costello & The Imposters

Phil Sutcliffe

He can be work, but give the old so-and-so an even break — he just made another great album.
5-star reviews5-star reviews5-star reviews5-star reviews5-star reviews

"I wish that I didn't hate you — least, not as much as I do": "Needle Time"'s rancid opening line speaks for both Costello's unquenchable narkiness and this album's prevailing itch to get stuck in. Recorded in Oxford, Mississippi, and unrelated to last year's somewhat Sondheimy North, it mood-swings between heartfelt country-soul and the rudest rut-and-grunt swamp rock.

The melancholy depth of "Country Darkness," "Heart Shaped Bruise" and "Nothing Clings Like Ivy" are simply the best of one familiar Costello. But the roiling, tin-shack clamour of "Button My Lip," "Bedlam" and "There's A Story In Your Voice" (a howling row of a duet with a pissed-off Lucinda Williams) lurches away into an uncharted, dirty, violent, emotional wasteland.

So: songs terrific, band sensational, and — big plus — Costello's voice late-developing way beyond that pinched whine into an instrument of substance and character.

Tags: The Delivery ManNorthStephen SondheimNeedle TimeCountry DarknessHeart Shaped BruiseNothing Clings Like IvyButton My LipBedlamThere's A Story In Your VoiceLucinda Williams

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Mojo, No. 131, October 2004

Phil Sutcliffe reviews The Delivery Man.


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