Elvis Costello (real first name Declan) does his best to de-categorise himself in this, his third album for WEA.
Listeners should not expect simply an aggressive form of New Wave music on this album.
It contains, instead, a distillation of a variety of styles and influences into a rich and various whole.
The WEA spokesman laughingly refers to one of the songs — "Oliver's Army," the single — as Elvis Costello's answer to ABBA.
Although the opening riff sounds suspiciously like an ABBA song, it does develop more intelligently than the relatively mindless melodies so beloved by the Swedish group.
All 12 songs on the album have been penned by Costello, who with this album should emerge as one of the major exponents of rock and roll extant.
There are some excellent tracks on this album, ranging from "Green Shirt" to "Two Little Hitlers" and "Sunday Best."
There are the required number of punk titles, like "Goon Squad," but on the whole it is more inspired than punk ever allows.
With the first 5,000 copies of this album, an e.p. has been included.
On that small record, Costello and the Attractions perform "Accidents Will Happen," "Alison" (a hit for Linda Ronstadt), and "Watching The Detectives."
This album was due for release last Thursday, but the date has been postponed until this week.