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Elvis Costello and the Imposters

Momofuku | Lost Highway
By ZETH LUNDY  |  May 12, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
05/16/2008_Costello_insideElvis Costello’s transition from angry young man to grumpy old man was nearly complete late last year when, in reaction to the piecemeal experience of the digital age, he entertained the notion of never ever recording another album. Then he decided that he would record another album, but that it would be released on vinyl only. Such extremism is quaint but impractical, and so Momofuku — recorded off-the-cuff during one week in LA with the Imposters and Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, Johnathan Rice, and pedal-steel player “Farmer” Dave Scher on backing vocals — is now available in all formats. That’s just as well, because its lasting gimmick is its rock-and-roll spontaneity, not its method of delivery. Sure, Costello’s flubbed lines are left intact and the album’s mixes can be wildly uneven, but missed perfections make for a pretty riveting whole. The simplest songs (“Go Away,” “Drum & Bone”) fare best in the unstructured environment; pastiches of bossa nova (“Harry Worth”) and cabaret (“Mr. Feathers”) offset the barrage of roots-tinged rock. As far as raw rock goes, Costello splits the difference: “American Gangster Time” suffers from an absence of melody but “Stella Hurt” wraps its hook in a wicked bootstomp riff. “I’m a limited primitive kind of man,” Costello sings in “Drum & Bone,” and for better and worse, that’s the truth.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Elvis Costello , Elvis Costello , Zeth Lundy ,  More more >
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