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Album review: Elvis Costello & the Roots, Wise Up Ghost (Blue Note/Decca)


Neither Elvis Costello nor Questlove (of US hip-hop/soul combo The Roots) is anybody’s fool, so there was no chance  this project would have proceeded if things hadn’t felt quite, like, right.

But it still required some cojones to pull it off. And lo, it is good: a brooding, dark, clicketty snarl of eloquent badness, not half as shouty and cluttered as you might fear. Twisted voice channels fluent word in a bower of uptown beats.

Search out “Refuse to be Saved” if you want to hear just how effective it can be; “Tripwire”, if you want to feel the oddness. There’s something artificial and experimental in the project’s very DNA, but that need not be a bad thing, and it isn’t.