Brilliant rock/pop songwriter Elvis Costello is reunited with his original group The Attractions for his latest album Brutal youth.
Costello has written 15 powerful tunes taking the listener on a trip down a memory lane of his youth as he displays an imagery of growing up in England.
The cover displays photographs of Costello dressed as a cowboy, at the beach and reading The Dandy comic. These familiar childhood scenes are turned into musical vignettes with cynical, aggressive and at times melancholy lyrics sung in Costello's instantly identifiable voice.
The Attractions add an urgency to the songs, especially the scathing guitar on "Kinder Murder," Nick Lowe's booming bass on "Science Fiction Twin," Steve Nieve's rattling piano and the drum work of Pete Thomas.
The musical backing is more powerful than the quartet's work on My Aim Is True and Armed Forces which rate as Costello's finest work to date.
Produced by Costello and Mitchell Froom the album proves the singer is still a master of the three minute song. "Still To Soon To Know" is a short stab about a relationship in a state of either ignorance or bliss using a simple backing of tinkling piano, bass and brushes on the drums.
Brutal Attraction doesn't have the obvious hit singles like "Alison" or "Watching The Detectives" but as a collective work it is brimming with fine songs and it is his best work since My Aim Is True.