Otago Daily Times, June 21, 2008

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Elvis Costello and the Imposters

Jeff Harford

4-stars (out of 5) reviews4-stars (out of 5) reviews4-stars (out of 5) reviews4-stars (out of 5) reviews4-stars (out of 5) reviews

The King proves he's still alive (that's Elvis Costello, not Presley), Def Leppard's own survival remains a tragic farce and the Arctic Monkeys' frontman entertains with a baroque set of ballads.

Those who drummed their fingers and stifled a yawn as Elvis Costello spent 10 years posing as jazz crooner, classical composer and art-rock impresario will welcome Momofuku.

With teeth somewhat blunter than in his Attractions days, the old dog has remembered enough tricks to pull off a more-than-passable impression of his former self.

While avoiding parody of his pigeon-toed stance of the late '70s, Costello delivers vitriol in sufficient measure to energise this collection of new wave rockers.

The Attractions' Steve Nieve is even on hand to provide that unmistakable keyboard sound, while Pete Thomas (drums), Davey Faragher (bass) and Jonathan Rice (guitar) are the most regular members of a fluid Imposters cast.

Recorded and mixed in just a week, Momofuku is easily the most urgent and instantly appealing record Costello's made in years.

From the punchy faux-punk of opener "No Hiding Place" to the throwaway appeal of sharp-tongued closer "Go Away," the album throws out few challenges.

But after so long without so much as a sneer from the onetime master of snot-nosed power-pop, it's fun to once more kick around his catchy choruses and clever one-liners.

A handful of more soulful tracks provide balance.

"Flutter And Wow" is a classy, piano-driven ballad and "My Three Sons" is a worthy addition to the canon of songs about parental pride, if a little schmaltzy.

Somewhere in the middle ground, tracks such as "Turpentine" and "Pardon Me, Madam, My Name Is Eve" round out an even dozen of tasty Costello allsorts.


Otago Daily Times, June 21, 2008

Jeff Harford reviews Momofuku.


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