Who, October 19, 1998

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Painted from Memory

Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach

Barry Divola

This kind of makes sense. The piano-playing, orchestra-conducting gent who made the whole world sing about love in the 1960s, matched with the bespectacled guy who has spent the past couple of decades using every genre at his disposal to inform us that love is a battlefield. What a beautiful relationship it could make.

The happy couple dance effortlessly from the outset, with "In the Darkest Place" the best track on the album — a pillowy drumbeat, sweet female backing vocals, Bacharach's pocket-symphony arrangement and Costello's unique phrasing all coming together. It works because the two work as one. Later, you can more easily differentiate their contributions — "I Still Have That Other Girl" is more Elvis; "This House Is Empty Now" bears the Burt trademarks.

Painted from Memory sags in the middle somewhat, where a couple of tracks take a trip down a synthesised middle-of-the-road route — "The Long Division" is too strained; "Such Unlikely Lovers" could be an outtake from a 1980s Steve Winwood album. End result? Not the perfect couple, but certainly a dynamic duo who give adult-oriented pop a good name.

$29.95, 52min 32sec



Who magazine, October 19, 1998

Barry Divola reviews Painted From Memory.


1998-10-19 Who page 83 clipping 01.jpg


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