Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elvis Costello - National Ransom

Last year's Secret, Profane & Sugarcane saw Elvis Costello and T Bone Burnett return to their country roots, but in our estimation, they went a little too far. The record lacked EC's customary bite, and came across more like a bluegrass experiment than as a record that could stand on it's own two feet. Nonetheless, Costello took it on tour and won us over. His live band was top notch, and as always his performance was impecable. It seems that the time on the road did him some good, because last month (yes, it slipped under or radar...d'oh!) Costello released something of a "sequel", National Ransom, and it's damn good.

When we originally posted about Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, we had hoped that it might revisit Costello's King Of America days. Unfortunately, it skirted rock and roll almost entirely, and ended up almost out of our taste range. On National Ransom, Costello has taken more of the approach of King Of America, and combined his rock and roll compatriots with his new country friends. The result is an album that has more depth than either of his previous two releases. The diversified instrumentation allows for increasingly complex songwriting, and the band ebbs and flows in a way that makes the record feel like a well assembled stage show.

And in fact, that's exactly what this is: it's the manifestation of the awesome road show that Costello took on tour last year, combined with the awesomeness of the Imposters. And the whole thing's on record. We almost missed this one, and we wanted to make sure you didn't too. Pick up National Ransom, we promise it's worth your while.