Elvis Costello - Hey Clockface

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Alternating between loud, sumptuously produced rock and softer, Tin Pan Alley-inspired songs, Elvis Costello delivers a brooding set of songs about time’s ceaseless march on his new album Hey Clockface.

Hey Clockface arrived quickly on the heels of Look Now, but where that 2018 album seemed constructed as classicist Elvis Costello, drawing upon his strengths as a melodicist and the muscle of his regular backing band the Imposters, this 2020 affair feels as if it was designed to surprise. It comes into focus quite slowly, with reeds and strings murmuring in a quiet drone before Costello launches into the spoken word of "Revolution #49."

The quieter moments require a listener to concentrate, then they're blown away by the cacophony, lured back in by a generous bit of old-fashioned merriment. It shows Costello's mastery of mood and storytelling, the kind of skill he's acquired over the course of a long career, but the key to Hey Clockface is that these techniques are applied to a record that's as restless as anything Costello made in his younger days.

Heavyweight double vinyl pressed by Concord Music Group. Gatefold sleeve.

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