michael gallucci


In album review on 10/19/2010 at 10:53 am


National Ransom


Like most recent Elvis Costello albums, National Ransom is stuffed with a little bit of everything from his past: witty wordplay, some bitching and moaning, familiar bandmates, producer T Bone Burnett, and a mix of pop, rock, gospel, R&B, and country sounds. So it doesn’t distinguish itself a whole lot from, say, The Delivery Man or last year’s Secret, Profane & Sugarcane. But there are occasional moments of genuine flash on the hour-long CD, but you have to wade through some soggy detours to get to them. It starts with the part-twangy, part-distorted-guitar feedback of the title track then quickly sinks into a messy mash of unfinished ideas and blah throwbacks. National Ransom hops around more erratically than any of Costello’s other records. The songs that sound like something your great grandparents may have heard on their refrigerator-size radio are particularly annoying. But “Five Small Words” and “Dr. Watson, I Presume” are his best songs in years. Just be ready to dig your way to them.



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