SF Weekly, September 22, 2004

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The Delivery Man / Il Sogno


Mark Keresman

The Delivery Man - Elvis Costello & the Imposters
Il Sogno - Elvis Costello, London Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas

Rock's most protean performer busts not one but two very divergent moves. The Delivery Man encapsulates the best aspects of Costello's past work without recycling — the volatile "Button My Lip" combines the craftiness of Spike and When I Was Cruel with the renewed snarl of Brutal Youth. "Country Darkness" and the yearning "Either Side of the Same Town" recall Elvis' inspired affinity for old-school country-tinged Southern R&B. "There's a Story in Your Voice" (with Lucinda Williams) and the garage-rock-goes-to-New Orleans romp "Monkey to Man" affirm that, while EC has indeed hit the 50-year mark, he retains the melodious audacity that hooked us back in '78.

Il Sogno (with a symphony orchestra) is Elvis' first foray into large-scale composition, intended for A Midsummer Night's Dream ballet presentation. While most rockers' attempts to "go classical" suffer from the "take me seriously" syndrome, Costello's score is a model of delicacy and restraint — the jazzy, rhythmic inspirations of Igor Stravinsky, George Gershwin, and Leonard Bernstein are artfully interwoven into articulate, buoyant vignettes. The House of Costello remains secure.

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SF Weekly, September 22, 2004


Mark Keresman reviews The Delivery Man and Il Sogno.


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