New Musical Express, December 6, 1980

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Elvis Costello And The Attractions

Paul Morley


Adam and The Ants: Antmusic (CBS)
The Police: De Do Do Do De Da Da Da (A&M)
The Beat: Too Nice To Talk To (Go-Feet)
The Specials: Do Nothing (2 Tone)
The Clash: Call Up (CBS)
Elvis Costello and The Attractions: Clubland (F Beat).

Faces in their places! A big resounding pop! From the space where I’m breathing this six pack looks like a big chunk of January’s charts, and can anyone really complain? For a lot of you, it’s the way of trading in your chrissie tokens. We’re at the other extreme of the new pop from the Crepescule tape, but even out here moments can send shivers, and passages can make you smile, and the heart can miss a beat, and although sometimes you wouldn’t know it reading the NME, there’s never been so much pop choice and pop shape. What a pattern!

This is the tip of the ice-berg: pop that is popular. Only one is as ravishing and as riveting as DAF and Fire Engines, but the best thing about this half dozen is that they’re going to chart, cheating the BBC and the “industry” of establishing its MOR majority, and maybe they’ll yet drag records like Au Pairs, Orange Juice, Wah! Heat, etc along with them.

I could never make my mind up about Costello. Do I have to now? You don’t really care what I think. It’s safe to say this is no Costello masterpiece. The arrangement stops and starts, clips and climbs, briefly takes the mickey out of itself, and it’s all very mature. It doesn’t achieve the transcendence of peak Costello, doesn’t stop me in my tracks. Unexpectedly the third track on this neat maxi-single, “Hoover Factory” does just that. A winsome hundred second ode to the criminally demolished art deco loveliness of the Hoover factory, with a typical little twist in the tail. “It’s not a matter of life or death, but what is?” Ah yes, it’s little moments like that that turn pop music into the art that works me up like it was a matter of life and death, that is nothing more or less than a way of passing the time.

Hey, pass the time, Adam! Pop music’s alive!

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New Musical Express, December 6, 1980

Paul Morley reviews the single for "Clubland."


1980-12-06 New Musical Express page 21.jpg 1980-12-06 New Musical Express page 22.jpg
Page scans.

1980-12-06 New Musical Express cover.jpg


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