SUNY Buffalo Spectrum, December 9, 1977

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My Aim Is True

Elvis Costello


What can a former computer technician do nowadays 'cept join a barbershop quartet and become a rasta. Sooo Elvis Costello avoided the usual entrapments and zeroed in on a much more stable and secure profession — ROCK 'N' ROLL? Yep another overnight success story brought to the states via the Stiff loonies in London. I myself thought it very, very unbelievable that a solo musician like Costello could break the American curtain of sloppy and inattentive listening, but he did. Slowly the word leaked when Columbia knew they had a hot one on their hands.

Stiff knew it too when Elvis sent them a tape, the end result became a single in the form of "One Less Than Zero." The song is the happy tale of one Oswald Mosely who was the national chairman in the thirties, and of course all 'round good guy. Talk about off the wall subjects, even Elvis looked of the wall when they first photographed him — too normal.

The follow-up single is the most played and fondled cut on the album, "Allison" is a lost love story of sorts, with plenty of pessimistic tribulations. But the best part of Elvis is not the lyrical content and moddiness he exhibits in numbers like "The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes," or the provoking jealousies he's subjected to with a song called "I'm not angry." Yes, lyrically Costello does prevail as one of the most able bodied pessimists that has shown the knack for a self-pitying don't give two-shits philosophy (70 percent of the male populace feels that way but they never wanna admit it).

Elvis is cool because he presents himself with such honesty (and even though he tries to hide it) a shitload of animosity. Even the photo on the cover suggested a hapless soul; the cover-up is there, all you have to do is turn over the album and catch the back photog.

So what's a guy like this, who is obviously lacking the bare chest and dimensions of Robert Plant, doing in rock 'n' roll? Plenty. Being a debut album, My Aim Is True is without a doubt one of the best releases this year. Although the second album release will really be the proof, the gutsy and tender mixtures impressed on this vinyl are an absolute delight. For some time it has irked me that people have never really discovered the valuable material that was being engineered in the studios by Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe (can't wait Nick... where's the album man?), Frankie Miller, and Graham Parker. But suddenly without expectation Elvis has come along and in a matter of a short time garners a good strong listening audience. So strong that he's out touring the states now as you read this. He's without a doubt in the same great rankings as the aforementioned musician/writers. In the same way they've used an r 'n' b format he can go it one better. Which on again proves why British musicians are by far more appreciative and colorful in what they play. They understand those basics.

You wanna treat? Spin this fucker at level 10, kick-off your shoes and grab a girl/guy and dance and sway your asses off the ground. There's a fine mixture, take the latest single (in England), "Watching For Detectives," and play it as you peel out of your skin to the tight reggae time signatures he gets. Or jitterbug to the "Mystery Dance" but be careful not to get a sliver in your bobby sox. Just go apeshit for cryin' out loud, especially when this semester ends. Spin this disc. Better yet, get this for your brother at Xmas and keep stealing it from him, you'll probably enjoy it even more.

The real shocker of all is that the album carries, get this, thirteen songs! When was the last time you brought an album that had thirteen songs mostly wild and furious rockers — huh?? Elvis Costello is the real thing, no holds barred. As a matter of fact his aim is so true it will undoubtedly hit that bullseye between your ears!


The Spectrum, December 9, 1977

Chips reviews My Aim Is True.


1977-12-09 SUNY Buffalo Spectrum page 16 clipping 01.jpg

1977-12-09 SUNY Buffalo Spectrum page 16.jpg
Page scan.


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