This oddly named record (a tribute to the inventor of instant noodles) is a sampler of all of Elvis Costello's strengths throughout his career, alternately elegant and abrasive, rocking and smooth. Originally released just on vinyl, Costello has now relented — the CD is in stores.
It's an ear-catching mix of styles and detours. Momofuku opens with "No Hiding Place," a song so classically Costello it could fit neatly on Armed Forces. The closer, "Go Away," is another classic Costello groove. "Song With Rose" is a literal title, as he co-wrote it with Roseanne Cash.
Jenny Lewis sings harmony through much of the album, a perfect foil for Costello; she's also part of the "supergroup" of background singers who sweeten several songs.
Costello's work has from time to time been deeply personal, reflecting his own transgressions and triumphs. He has a couple here that rival his best. "Turpentine" is a confession, hinting at bad behavior and unpaid sins. And "My Three Sons" is a tribute to his children, including young twins and his grown son Matthew from a previous marriage.
"Mr. Feathers" pushes a little too hard trying to be offbeat and obscure, one of a couple of missteps on the disc. Overall, however, Momofuku is a full, rich Costello experience, with songs that are going to sound great on tour this summer.