New Musical Express, February 3, 1979

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Oliver's Army

Elvis Costello

Julie Duran

Cringing under accusations of being samey, El One-Note has stopped pulling model girls' hair and turned his Napoleonic complex on politicians in this obvious slice of Armed Forces, saying boo to Churchill's corpse and expecting it to turn over and sob face down into it's pillow.

This is Costello's "Winter of `79" or "English Civil War", with the scare-mongering for pleasure and profit usually found in those pop singers suffering from megalomania and paranoia — much more tuneful and enigmatic here but no less disposable. The unison of acoustic and electric brings to mind mid-period Dylan songs called stuff like "Queen Achilles Revisited" and the voice sounds more like Manfred Mann than ever. The lyrics read like a Holiday 79 brochure, as glib as that free colour pull-out with Give 'Em Enough Rope but a little more melodic.

The reference to a "white nigger" is Elvis being typically sensitive and original and will no doubt result in mucho controversial mileage as radio programmers break out in a hot flush — but will, of course, get a rave review in the ("Ain't nothing but a") Socialist Worker's Party rag.

Boring in a small way.

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New Musical Express, February 3, 1979

Julie Duran reviews "Oliver's Army," which is also featured in a full page ad on page 6.


1979-02-03 New Musical Express page 06 advertisement.jpg
Page 6 ad for Oliver's Army.

1979-02-03 New Musical Express cover.jpg


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