Semper, May 1994

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Brutal Youth

Elvis Costello

Brad Edwards

There's been a lot of misleading talk about EC's new album being a "return to form". Certainly the record sees a return of the stripped-back sound of the artist's first few albums with the Attractions (all of whom are back in his band) but that doesn't mean Costello was only ever relevant in his brash early days. He's been consistently tuneful and brutal over the course of 15 odd albums, whether dallying in pop, country, classical, psychadelia, new wave or TV soundtracks. It's all a game to a performer who writes songs as quickly as Liz Taylor changes spouses: if current trends favour raw production, then he'll play that way just to get his current outpourings in front of an audience. So ifs more or less your typical EC album; a catchy single about love and damnation in "13 Steps Lead Down"; an even catchier take on Buddy Holly's "Everyday" in `This is Hell"; a nod back to the King of America days on "London's Brilliant Parade." Love goes in hand with bitterness, clever turn of phrase jostles with clover turn of phrase, and the sweeter the tune, the nastier the sentiments. The release of a new EC record isn't an event any more: it's simply one of the necessary, recurring joys of life that help make the whole horrid business worthwhile.


Semper, May 1994

Brad Edwards reviews Brutal Youth.


1994-05-00 Semper page 54 clipping 01.jpg

1994-05-00 Semper page 54.jpg
Page scan.


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