It’s been a busy 12 months for Elvis Costello: he’s released the album Hey Clockface, a French EP based on it, and a re-worked, Spanish version of his 1978 album This Year’s Model. And now he’s back with The Boy Named If (And Other Children’s Stories).
Like most artists of a certain age, Costello tends to refer to his previous musical output, and The Boy Named If encompasses many eras of Costello’s work.
There’s the baroque pop of Imperial Bedroom on The Difference, there’s the passion of Blood And Chocolate on What If I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, you could almost put Paint The Red Rose Blue on Painted From Memory, and My Most Beautiful Mistake on King Of America.
But while everything here echoes its maker’s past, it all sounds new. Costello’s endless drive and passion don’t so much blow away cobwebs as dynamite the nearest dam and send them to a watery death.
He describes his recent work as “records that are happening right now”. And he’s not wrong. The Boy Named If (And Other Children’s Stories) is excellent.