Monday, January 17, 2022

Album reviews: Elvis Costello and the Imposters, FKA Twigs, The Wombats

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Elvis Costello presents us with a somewhat terrible, unfocused album and there is a clear change in mood for FKA twigs

Fifty-one years after his career, Elvis Costello has not forgotten his roots. The songs on his 29th album, The boy named If, are bursting with bar rock power and the stories that give your fellow drinkers five pints – songs about the missteps and mischief of a boy who turns into a man. And yes, sometimes it can feel as inconsequential as it sounds.

The boy named If starts exuberantly with the horned “Farewell OK”, whose boogie-woogie heart beats under a jumble of guitars and snares-thwacks.

It sets the stage for an album that won’t hang around, and Costello rattles through the 13 tracks barely taking a breather. The pensive “My Most Beautiful Mistake” is a short respite, swaps thundering tempo for sweet piano motifs and still manages to make fun of herself, a potential lover says she has “seen your guy in court sketches before”.

At first I hated the derisive “Penelope Halfpenny” with its chorus that sounds like your brother is poking fun at your best buddy, but like many of the songs on this album, continued listening to its irritating hooks turned into familiar sounds that I did couldn’t stop singing along

In a similar way, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” sounds like a well-known cop-out to a certain ear – devoted love, disguised as the only requirement for a functioning relationship and against a wall of crashing sound. Maybe that flew in the 70s, but we need you for therapy here in 2022, babes.

You get the feeling that some of these songs have been overwritten a bit. There is too much going on, there are too many ideas and there are The boy named If a nervous, unfocused feeling. It’s a more satisfying listen when Costello and his band slow down, skim the fat, and keep things simple, like on “The Man You Love to Hate”.
Great fun to hear Costello catch on – it just might be easier to work with one song at a time.

Stream: Farewell OK, mistaking me for a friend, The Man You Love to Hate

A prevalent joke on social media is that FKA Twigs got the tune misplaced thanks to their weird, alien vocal lines that never quite go where you’d expect them to be.

on Capri songs, she has started to locate it. The record is still weird and winding and spooky and weird, but this mixtape has some hooks. Maybe you can even sing along – no guarantee.

After 2019 Magdalena, there is a definite change in mood. That is, branches have fun, play with friends, and let go of the heavy stuff. It’s a pleasure to hear, especially after the harrowing experiences that Magdalena (In January 2021, she filed a lawsuit against an ex-boyfriend for alleged sexual harassment, assault and causing emotional stress).

Although she was forced to reveal so much about herself, in the introductory “Ride the Dragon” she promises “I’m still a mysterious bitch”, and her experience makes “Thank You” even more relevant, which the album with an A. concludes the spacey frenzy of optimism

Stream: Papi Bones, jealousy, thank you

Whether you know The Wombats for their cheeky indie hit “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” from 2007 or their latest TikTok sweep depends a lot on your age, I suspect.

If you’re from the former camp, you probably don’t know that the Liverpudlian trio are actually still pretty big, with a bunch of arena dates slated for this spring and streaming stats The Pigeon Detectives would kill for.

With a practiced hand and sovereign trappings, the fifth album by The Wombats is released, full of perfect, masses of drops and swells, which only fulfill their real purpose when 20,000 people experience them at the same time.

On the cheerfully titled Everything I Love is Going to Die EP from last year, the best songs already had their day in the sun – “If You Ever Leave I’m Coming With You” is a particularly funny round on the dance floor, a Netflix -Teen drama in song form.

This polished, light indie pop music won’t save the world – but it won’t make it worse either.

Stream: This car drives all by itself

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