Elvis & the Imposters Costello

Album Title: The Delivery Man
Release Date: September 21, 2004
Genre: Rock
Elvis Costello is a lot like the little girl with a curl; when he is good, he's very, very good but when he is bad, he is bleeding, blarring, bloody awful (sorry, I was never much for credos). The Delivery Man isn't quite at that level but I don't think too many folks will be fingering this album as a late career highlight either. What's always been frustrating about Costello is his penchant for diluting his biting lyrics and smart arrangements with self-indulgent drivel and coma-inducing tedium. All of the above can be found on this disc. It's a bluesy/rootsy affair (by Costello's standards anyway) and the brightest moments are those where the hired help gives Elvis assistance at plumbing the depth. Lucinda Williams checks in for the rocking duet "Story in your Voice", where she plays the part of a bayou banshee to Costello's Friar Tuck. Emylou Harris also makes an appearance, this time on the off-tempo parlour ballad "Nothing Clings Like Ivy". It's quite a lovely song and probably the album's highlight. Otherwise, there's very little else here that warrants mention. I'd even go so far as to suggest that the ragged opener "Button Your Lip" is really annoying and the bare bones closer "The Scarlet Tide" is a wilting forget-me-not awash on the Mississippi. How's that for southern justice?

Writer: Cameron Gordon

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