Separate the hype from the reality and you hold in your hands an album by Elvis Costello aka: Deklan Macmanus, the little hands of concrete et al. which is better than his last few efforts and less, much less, than his best. An album saved from obscurity by three excellent songs ("Little Palaces," "King of America," "Don't let me be ...") and a media blitz; the lesson of the emperors new clothes evidently forgotten.
Misjudged attempts at rockabilly wherein all that is achieved are the right notes; Country and Western, that most grotty and horrible music of modern times; here drawling and crawling and finally dying under the burden of the many, many words in these songs.
Elvis Costello, mentor to that bastard folk movement finding critical acceptance, if nothing else, at the moment; it's energy derived from the alcohol melancholia of an empty bed and fucked up head.
Words, words and more words; those personal whiskey sodden couplets which whisper "how low can you go?."
Gone is that crisp energy, that satin wit; gone is the thinking persons spectator and in its place is a tired, aching, dull throb in the temples where the cynics and the hacks curl up and finally pass away. RIP. From the man who's seen it all, a record that says nothing because, in the final analysis, it's a dead and lifeless thing this piece of vinyl. Re title it The Alcoholic Limbo; not for general consumption.