It's difficult to judge an Elvis Costello album quickly.
While Costello's early works crackled with angry immediacy, over the years Costello's albums have become increasingly complex and sometimes confusing. Songs stand out only after repeated listenings.
On Costello's new disc, Brutal Youth, he reunites with his first band, The Attractions, as well as sometime cohort Nick Lowe. "Kinder Murder," "13 Steps Lead Down," "Sulky Girl," "My Science Fiction Twin" and "20 Percent Amnesia" could've been outtakes from those frantic early sessions when Costello created the songs "Radio, Radio" and "Clubland." It's refreshing to hear Costello blasting it out again.
In the midst of this, though, are sweet tunes such as "London's Brilliant Parade," "You Tripped At Every Step" and "Favourite Hour." And too, Costello couldn't help but include tunes with the odd experimental feel of his more recent work.
But Costello dilutes the disc with too many cuts. A song at a time, Brutal Youth is intoxicating. As a whole, it numbs.