Elvis Costello makes a better stand-in for Burt Bacharach's former lyricist, Hal David, than he does for the composer's signature voice, Dionne Warwick. But even Costello's limited range and less-than-polished pipes don't spoil this songwriting tour de force. Bacharach's tunes are as complex and musically sophisticated as ever and his orchestrations are lovingly and lushly detailed. Costello's lyrical meditations on the bittersweetness of love, are full of sly turns of phrase that Bacharach underlines with equally sly melodic and harmonic accents.
Admittedly, Costello's voice takes a little getting used to, but it's helped along the way by a trio of sweet-toned female singers who arrive to punch up the choruses. But the real treat here is the songs, which, if they don't quite match the genius of Bacharach/David gems such as "I Say A Little Prayer," reveal sparkling new facets with each successive spin.