Home > News & Reviews > Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello - Look Now (Album Review)

Thursday, 18 October 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

‘Look Now’, Elvis Costello’s first solo album in eight years, is an excellent outing for the veteran songwriter. As a collection it’s rich, classy and able to demonstrate his distinctive talent for writing complex narratives full of emotional jeopardy and black humour.

This balance is beautifully rendered on Stripping Paper - a skilful ballad that uses the extended metaphor of home decor to speak about hidden, buried emotions: “I got time on my hands I'm just stripping paper / It's amazing what you will find / Stripping paper, When you get down to the past.”

While the fundamental lyrical device works, the song also manages to convey a deeply resonant kind of nostalgic melancholia that often arrives doing these kinds of mundane household tasks. It’s marvellous.

Similarly, Unwanted Number is a track that has wit and wisdom at its core, alongside hugely nimble chords and an arrangement that showcases his voice better than recent records.

Indeed, while Costello’s talent for collaboration has thrown up real gems (his 1998 album with Burt Bacharach in particular), his 21st century catalogue has sometimes seemed a sequence of genre experiments. While such intellectual exercises have always made his work interesting, they have often formed the backbone of records that don’t quite connect on a more basic level.

‘Look Now’ is music that is keen to please, and while it gets a little close to Steely Dan-style yacht rock (Under Lime and Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter for example), this is a musical group with enough self awareness to maintain a degree of edge. Listen out for Steve Nieve’s tacky organ sound, which occasionally shows up on the record. It sounds as incongruously crap/compelling today as it did on Watching the Detectives.

‘Look Now’ revisits Costello’s essential skill of heavily storied, complicated characters, and places them in in a semi-crooned fantasy space of memory and regret. It’s a distinctive, entertaining and conceptually bold record by one of the best songwriters these islands have ever produced.





Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!




Related News

Elvis Costello And The Imposters Roll Out Spring UK Just Trust Tour Dates
Mon 16 Sep 2019
Photo: Ray di Pietro Elvis Costello and the Imposters will bring their Just Trust Tour to the UK in 2020.
Elvis Costello Re-Teams With The Imposters For The Clever Pop Of Unwanted Number and Under Lime
Fri 27 Jul 2018
Elvis Costello has put out a lot of records.
Elvis Costello Cancels European Shows On Medical Grounds
Fri 06 Jul 2018
Elvis Costello has cancelled the remaining dates of his current European tour on medical grounds.
Steve Aoki And Backstreet Boys Share Collaborative Single Let It Be Me
Fri 06 Sep 2019
Steve Aoki and Backstreet Boys have combined for a collaborative single.
Hootie And The Blowfish Announce New Album 'Imperfect Circle'
Fri 09 Aug 2019
Hootie and the Blowfish have lined up an autumn release for their new album.
James Blunt To Support New Album 'Once Upon A Mind' With 2020 UK Arena Tour
Fri 30 Aug 2019
Photo: Gavin Bond James Blunt has announced the Once Upon A Mind Tour.
Rod Stewart Announces New Album With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Wed 18 Sep 2019
Photo: Sam Scales Rod Stewart will release a new album this autumn.
Elton John Adds New York And New Jersey Concerts To Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour
Wed 18 Sep 2019
Elton John will return to New York City in 2020 for seven shows.
 
< Prev   Next >