Elvis Costello - Brutal Youth - Review
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critics' view

The King reunites with The Attractions and Nick Lowe to see what sparks might fly. The opening trinity of cuts aside, the results only occasionally mimic the sound and fury of '78. Instead, Costello shelves the sweeping ambition that marred recent albums like Spike and Mighty Like The Rose, and lets his songs breathe in minimal, cleverly detailed musical settings of real genius. "13 Steps Lead Down" is a smashing, tongue-twisting marquee single; "Sulky Girl" has the allure of an Imperial Bedroom outtake; "London's Brilliant Parade" and "Clown Strike" are pop beauties.

Jeff Bateman
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