Posts Tagged ‘Pete Thomas’

Elvis Costello Look Now artwork

Elvis Costello might be one of the most dexterous and accomplished pop songwriters of the rock era, but he’s not above dipping back into his own well on occasion. The singer has spent a lot of time in recent years touring and performing 1982’s Imperial Bedroom, so it makes sense that his latest outing, Look Now, smacks of that record’s baroque pop flair. With The Imposters back in tow, Costello’s first record of new music in five years is an intricately detailed and meticulously crafted affair, one longer on arrangements and musicianship than rock and roll spit and vinegar.

A veritable jack of all musical trades, Costello has canvassed just about every genre imaginable over the course of his 40-year career. He can play the part of the crooning balladeer (“Look Now”, “Stripping Paper”, “Photographs Can Lie” ) just as easily as he can the fiery bandleader (“Mr. and Mrs. Hush”, “Unwanted Number”). Look Now album boasts a little of both, but, generally speaking, the record is a relaxed hang defined much more by piano, strings, and winds than Costello’s rock and roll pedigree. But it’s hardly a snoozer, either. Subtlety might reign, but there’s a swanky, sophisticated cool coursing through Look Now that punches it up in even its hushest moments

Elvis Costello  has always had a talent for writing songs that you feel with your whole body, and “Under Lime” might be his most orgasmic yet. Following up with the “Jimmie” we left “standing in the rain” on National Ransom, Costello delivers a peppy, poppy homage to an illicit backstage tryst between the older showman and the daffy young assistant on a low-budget “Mystery Guest” TV show. Costello’s vocals are satin-sinister, sweet as honey on one line and a dangerous purr in the next, and Pete Thomas’ clockwork drumming keeps everyone in check. But it’s Steve Nieve who steals the show with a ragtime piano that hits its frantic, fiery peak at the tail end of the last verse, and the song ends in a glorious shudder. I’m not ashamed to say I actually swooned when I heard him play it live this past November.

After canceling a slew of European tour dates, Elvis Costello is bouncing back from a “small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy” . Elvis Costello & The Imposters are Steve Nieve (keyboards), Davey Faragher (bass), Pete Thomas (drums) they recorded Look Now in Hollywood, New York City and Vancouver, British Columbia.

This LP marks Costello’s first release since 2013’s Wise Up Ghost with The Roots and 2008’s Momofuku with The Imposters.

“I knew if we could make an album with the scope of ‘Imperial Bedroom’ and some of the beauty and emotion of ‘Painted From Memory’, we would really have something”, Costello says of Look Now. The album is entirely written by Costello, save for “Don’t Look Now,” “Photographs Can Lie” and “He’s Given Me Things” which were co-written by Burt Bacharach. “Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter” was written with Carole King.

“Look Now’ is an outstanding 12-strong addition to his song catalogue. Elvis Costello’s 30th album –co-credited to the Imposters, basically the Attractions with a different bass player — is his strongest in years.

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Elvis Costello is a conceptual band-leader (The Attractions, The Confederates, The Imposters etc), and apparently innately turned his short stories ,lacerating tales of romantic frustrations, political expediency, hapless social climbing and all the rest into any form he wanted to. His first half-a-dozen records are almost concept albums, with Costello moving through genres as though they were time zones. Confident of his instincts and virtuosity, he has continued in this vein for more than 40 years, happy to dip in and out of styles and collaborate at will with Burt Bacharach on 1998’s Painted From Memory and Allen Toussaint on 2006’s The River In Reverse.

He’s been quiet of late, not helped by a recent cancer scare, which was an unnecessary interruption to his almost relentless touring schedule. Next month sees the release of a brand-new album, Called Look Now (probably because you should), it’s his first record he’s made with The Imposters since 2008 and his first new album since the well-reviewed 2013 Roots collaboration, Wise Up Ghost.

The last time Elvis Costello put out an album, he was backed by The Roots on 2013’s largely underrated and flat-out spectacular Wise Up Ghost! It saw the songwriter opening up his repertoire to a collaboration with hip hop’s most famous live band. Now five years later, Costello returns to the form that made him one of the most well-respected names in music. In tow, are The Imposters, a band whom he most recently recorded 2008’s Momofuku with, as well as legendary songwriter/pianist Burt Bacharach, a longtime collaborator of Costello’s who helped thread multiple tracks on the album. “I had all of the orchestrations and vocal parts in my head or on the page before we played a note,” the ever-methodical Costello said in a press release. And if latest single “Suspect My Tears,” is any indication, Look Now (out on Concord Records) promises more of Costello’s timeless lyricism through and through.

Costello says that he decided to make the record while touring last summer with the band, largely playing songs from his Imperial Bedroom album, and having spent a weekend with Look Now it’s easy to see the connection. The songs here are dense but ornate, complex but forthright, and every one of the 12 songs has a melody that you won’t be able to slip. Costello has been criticised in the last decade or so for failing to address his audience and by trying to distance himself from his past. And whether you subscribe to that or not, this new record is good enough to appeal to any Costello fan, regardless of when they joined his train.>There are co-writes with Bacharach, while one song – “Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter”, written with Carole King – sounds like the best thing that Steely Dan have written since Katy Lied.

“Unwanted Number” from the forthcoming album Look Now

Elvis Costello  has released a new video for his ballad “Suspect My Tears,” off his forthcoming album Look Now, out October. 12yj on Concord Records.

The artistic new video features a tragic love story told via a black-and-white, animated storyboard, which introduces limited colors by its closing.

“Suspect My Tears” was recorded by Grammy-winning producer Sebastian Krys with The Imposters, who include Steve Nieve (keyboards), Davey Faragher (bass) and Pete Thomas (drums). The track is augmented by jazz-bassoonist Michael Rabinowitz, and vocalists Kitten Kuroi and Brianna Lee.

Look Now is the first album Costello has made with The Imposters since the 2008 release of Momofuku, and his first new album since his 2013 collaboration with The Roots, Wise Up Ghost.

Costello will kick off an extensive U.S. tour with The Imposters next month.