188. Elvis Costello and the Attractions – “Armed Forces”

I’ve been battling with a nasty cold for the past five or so days.  My day of listening to Mr.Costello’s 1979 opus was thus quite a while back now. 

Album Cover Armed Forces Elvis Costello and the AttractionsThe test in finally composing my review is how much of a lasting impression it made.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Declan McManus (EC’s birthname). I’ve always find him to be a bit of a too-smart-for-his-own-good artiste with a tendency to sneer and condescend.  But, at the same time, he’s capable of producing some outstanding tracks with biting lyrics and contagious melodies. 

Costello never seems to cut corners so as to pander to a pop audience, and his tunes prompt close examination. 

This effort has a series of high quality tracks, most notably  Oliver’s Army, a track I can’t remember not knowing all the words to (but only ever partially comprehending).  Across most tracks he seems to be parodying and dismissing much of the British class system.

As I said, it can all be a little too clever for its own good, and comes across as bit dated nowadays.  His mix of punk-ish spitting vocals, and British invasion power-pop has been certainly highly influential, but I don’t find it sufficiently compelling to crave much more.

File under: Slightly dangerous

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