Winnipeg Free Press, October 4, 1986

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Costello's new album a reunion of sorts

Glen Gore-Smith

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The long-suffering and prolific Elvis Costello usually follows periods of stylistic fiddling with returns to form.

So perhaps it was in the cards for Costello to follow King Of America, an experimental album on which he dug back into the American roots of his music, with Blood & Chocolate (Columbia) — an album of consolidation on which he returns to the New Wave roots of his career.

The new release, Costello's 13th LP, is a reunion of sorts. Costello is again working full-time with long-standing backup group The Attractions. He's also back with producer Nick Lowe, the man who handled such earlier Costello endeavors as Armed Forces.

The Attractions sound revved-up and ready for action. And this is the second Costello album to come out in less than six months. No doubt both factors contribute to the bashed-out and dashed-off sound which charges Blood & Chocolate — somewhat recalling the restless, angry, neurotic intensity of the Costello who did My Aim is True and Armed Forces.

Costello is still too preoccupied with his own finely-honed lyrical perceptions to sound spontaneous. His music still has too much sheer edge to sound full. He is still a curiously incomplete rocker, one who is rich in passion but poor in sensuality. And those songs are becoming easier and easier to type.

However, this is a strong, lean, uncluttered album of basically direct songs, led by "Uncomplicated," "Tokyo Story Warning," and (especially) "Blue Chair," "Battered Old Bird" and "Crimes Of Paris."


Winnipeg Free Press, October 4, 1986

Glen Gore-Smith reviews Blood & Chocolate.


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