universal classics (label)
15 September 2003 (released)
18 October 2003
EC is a genius.....discuss.Elvis Costello's new album 'North' is a pole to pole distance from last year's EC and ' The Imposters' manic offering 'When I was cruel'.
This is a jazz/showtune batch of songs influenced more by Gershwin than Miles Davis. The main stimulant though is a lyrical one with the first half of the album being about a break up of a longterm relationship, mirrored in reality by Elvis's split with his wife of 16 years Cait O'Riordan, and then the unsure thrill of falling in love again as the wildchild/crooner has indeed done with no less than songstress Diana Krall. The vocal is at the fore with Elvis at his most tender and dilligent in his delivery. There are no vitriolic/jumbled lines here,the only pun to be found in his punctured heart.The album demands attentive listening but musically, though aided by giants like Steve Nieve and Peter Erskine,demands no flourishes of his keys from the former and mainly brushwork on the skins from the latter. Pity.Just some stabs at a fuller sound comes with the addition of Brodsky Quartet on 'still' and various orchestral thrills. Elvis even plays piano on a few tracks his playing in keeping to this economic musical feel. This gives the aura of autumn in its sentiment which might not be good for all seasons but is a welcome change for sure. Going up 'North' is however a journey well worth taking and there are very few artists open to such eclectic changes in style but so consistent in content as the 'King'. 3 stars measured against his now vast body of work but a welcome addition.