Album: Elvis Costello, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (Hear Music)
Friday 29 May 2009
Elvis Costello albums seem to arrive with increasing frequency these days, their diversity appearing more like compensation for their patchiness.
If you didn't like him singing with a string quartet, maybe you'd care for him in a jazz suite? No? How about collaborations with Burt Bacharach? Allen Toussaint? Anne Sophie von Otter? Or, as here, hooking up with T-Bone Burnette for some of those rootsy string-band settings that proved popular for Plant & Krauss? Though far from the most daunting prospect in his sprawling catalogue, this proves no better in practice, partly because Costello's voice has a mean-spirited tone devoid of the siren lure of Plant & Krauss's harmonies, and it's a rag-bag of material that simply doesn't hang together. There's a bluegrass cover of "Complicated Shadows", from 1996's All This Useless Beauty; a fast string-band shuffle of "Hidden Shame", written for Johnny Cash; several tedious, self-pitying romantic country pastiches, one ("I Felt The Chill") co-written with Loretta Lynn; and four tracks written for an abortive opera project about Hans Christian Andersen's love affair with singer Jenny Lind. But it's a shoddy set of barrel-scrapings overall, lacking both focus and impetus.
Download this: 'Red Cotton', 'The Crooked Line'
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
James Blunt finally admits the truth: 'You're Beautiful' is annoying
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments