The Delivery Man

It seems that as Elvis Costello explores more elaborate musical styles — an orchestral album, Il Sogno, has just been released — his rock & roll grows rawer and more impassioned. "Button My Lip," the angular opening track on The Delivery Man, rolls in as if the listener had intruded on a performance that was already under way. The Imposters play with that sort of immediacy throughout. Even the ballads — "Either Side of the Same Town," "Nothing Clings Like Ivy" (with harmonies by Emmylou Harris) — bristle with force. As these thirteen songs rattle and rumble along, it's easy to miss their depth, their incisive mapping of the places where love, obsession and anger intersect. This is not Elvis Costello the self-conscious artiste flaunting significance. Instead, he comes here modestly as the Delivery Man, and he delivers.

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