A self righteously important release, an Elvis Costello protest single in the wake of the Greenham eviction. Again, it's under the moniker he adopted for his other piece of political heaviosity ("Pills And Soap") as if to underline its special nature and separate it from his regular clock punching, lexicon juggling pop. The sentiment — a swipe at the hoary, historically inconsistent Euro American pals act — is spot on, but I'm afraid you can't just praise a man for having his heart in the right place.
Nope. Good music that will pick you up, check you out, shake you around or shower you down must be the starting point for any polemic in pop and this woefully maudlin dirge doesn't make it. Is there a new Dylan in the house? Well, I hear a few chimes of freedom, a studiously sombre north country Hovis advert brass band struggling to reach the top of that steep unending hill and an incessant bleep bleep bleep (like the one on Laurie Anderson's "Oh Superman") which irritates like hell and is no substitute for the tune El forgot to write.
This doesn't have the sad melodic resonance of "Shipbuilding," nor the caustic alacrity of "Pills And Soap" and it don't fly on the grooves and grab you like "Nelson Mandela." It merely clears a space so that El can stand, the romantically etched minstrel in the wilderness, moaning and groaning like a wounded buffalo. We need life, fire and spontaneity, not just solid worthiness, from our popsters.