Having fulfilled his guest duties on the forthcoming Jenny Lewis record, Costello was fired up to stay in the studio and knock out a "quickie" of his own. Momofuku was, he claims, mostly written and recorded in about three weeks, and the immediacy and spontaneity of the project will remind fans of 1986's Blood & Chocolate. In common with that superb set, there's a rough'n'ready garage feel that harks back to the past: Steve Nieve's stabbing Vox Continental organ parts on "American Gangster Time" and "Go Away" (both with Lewis chiming in on harmonies) have the cut-and-thrust of This Year's Model. Elvis the soul crooner also gets a look in ("Flutter & Wow"), and there's graceful country imagery to the Loretta Lynn co-write "Pardon Me Madam My Name Is Eve," while "Stella Hurt" and "Turpentine" boast the staccato twists of the tougher elements of The Delivery Man.
Costello had planned to take the year off to spend time with his young twins, but they're remembered alongside his grown-up offspring on the tender "My Three Sons." He may relish diversity in his ongoing career (a second ballet score was premiered in America in March), but Momofuku is living proof that he's not forgotten how to rock.