Elvis Costello is easily the most anthologised artist from the punk/new wave era with good reason.
Because he has enjoyed an extended career - venturing into a bewildering variety of different musical genres, recording prolifically with few breaks since 1977 - he's also the hardest to make sense of on a sampler.
By limiting its scope to 1977- 1986, beginning with The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes from My Aim is True and concluding with I Want You from Blood and Chocolate, and by concentrating on singles, this collection does a better job than most.
Considered alongside his subsequent career, this CD illustrates Costello's fascinating musical journey.
Of the 22 tracks, all but four were singles, although fewer than half were US or UK top 30 hits. It's hard to argue with any of the inclusions, although anybody who likes Costello will be able to reel off a list of tracks they think should be here that aren't.
The artist himself is compiling a series of 'themed' anthologies and his whole back catalogue is being reissued with 'bonus tracks' that in many cases were previously unissued for excellent reasons.
There's nothing disposable here, however, although Costello was arguably at his peak on the run of singles cut with the Attractions, beginning with Pump It Up.
Oliver's Army and Accidents Will Happen, in particular, still sound as fresh as they did on a pub juke- box in 1979. Most fans will have these tracks already, but it's a great introduction to Costello for those who don't know him.