Elvis Costello

The Elvis of old is back. Following a string of eclectic collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra, jazz guitarist extraordinaire Bill Frisell and Sophie Van Otter, Costello delivers his highest octane recording in years with When I Was Cruel. This time around Costello is reunited with Pete Thomas (drums and percussion) and Steve Nieve (keyboards and piano) from his debut band, The Attractions. If you were moved by the raucous new-wave tunes Costello delivered in the late '70s and '80s you will love this CD. With some new ethereal hooks such as the breaks o­n Spooky Girlfriend and Soul For Hire, this is Costello adding a bit of a new twist to the music many of us listened to o­n the radio. Costello doesn't try to reinvent himself o­n this disc, yet his overall sound has matured, without sounding overtly modern. My favorite three songs o­n the CD, include: the slow and haunting Tart, the song 45 is a distinctive Costello number that will surely satisfy, unlike conventional Costello renderings Episode Of Blonde is something a bit different nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable. "When I Was Cruel" is among Costello's best records, absolutely brilliant, my favorite album of the year for now. Elvis Costello's o­nly Canadian tour date is o­n June 12 in Toronto. You can also catch Elvis at home; he'll be o­n the Conan O'Brien show o­n June 20th.

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