Thursday, May 15, 2008

Casual Listening Extra 5-16-08

Casual Listening


I couldn’t give an objective report on the new Elvis Costello album – I’m not enough of a fan to do it justice. So I called on a reader I knew would do it justice. Thanks, Mehrdad Azemun, for this review.

Elvis Costello and the Imposters – Momofuku (rock)

Any review by any critic of any Elvis Costello album has to start with the classic quote, attributed to David Lee Roth: "You know why critics love Elvis Costello and hate Van Halen? Because critics look like Elvis Costello."

And let’s not forget the other quote attributed to Costello himself: "Rock critics love Van Halen and hate me because rock critics look like me but want to party with David Lee Roth."

Who said which first? I dunno, but I figure both are true since they’re both on the internet. The only thing that’s not true is that I, the critic in this instance, look like Elvis Costello, though a stranger told me the opposite at a Chicago falafel stand back in 1998.

But no matter what, David Lee Roth is still right - this critic loves this piece of work. Momofuku is a solid, energetic rock album. Costello and the Imposters blast out of the starting gate with three catchy rockers featuring tight work from the backing band. After so many years, the old reliables are still there: Costello’s acerbic and playful lyrics, delivered with his precise and still-healthy pipes; enjoyable melodies that don’t sag under the weight of his themes; and let’s never forget Steve Nieve’s punchy keyboards. There isn’t a weak track to be found here. With 30-plus years behind him, it’s clear that Costello, backed by a strong set of musicians, has many a good guitar lick and acidic lyric still in him yet.

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