Elvis Costello and The Imposters – Steve Nieve (keyboards), Davey Faragher (bass), Pete Thomas (drums) – have made a sensational new album that ranks alongside the best work this singularly great artist has ever produced.
Recorded in Hollywood, New York City and Vancouver, British Columbia, ‘Look Now’ is beautiful in its simplicity, reflective in its lyrical vision, surrounded by melodies and orchestrations that are nothing short of heavenly. It’s the first album Costello has made with The Imposters since the 2008 release of ‘Momofuku’ and his first new album since the acclaimed 2013 Roots collaboration, ‘Wise Up Ghost’.
Anyone anywhere in the world who has seen Elvis Costello and The Imposters live can testify to their unmitigated swagger. Costello’s suspicion that it was time to return to the studio was confirmed while on the ‘Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers’ tour of the USA, last summer and he realized the power and sheer musicality of The Imposters had never really been fully captured on one record.
“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”, said Costello.
‘Look Now’ is an outstanding 12-strong addition to his song catalogue. Most of the titles were written solely by Elvis Costello although, ‘Don’t Look Now’ and ‘Photographs Can Lie’ were co-written with Burt Bacharach, who makes a guest appearance, leading The Imposters from the piano for those two ballads.
Another song to which Bacharach contributed, ‘He’s Given Me Things’ features some of the best singing Elvis has ever recorded, while ‘Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter’ was written with Carole King and closes with a serpentine horn line winding around Steve Nieve’s atmospheric keyboard parts.
The album was co-produced by Elvis and Sebastian Krys – the Latin Grammy Producer of the Year for 2007 and 2015, whose love and understanding of music spans both hemispheres.
Sebastian had worked extensively with Pete and Davey in the Los Angeles studios, so it’s no surprise that this dynamic rhythm section was incredibly well-prepared for the recording sessions. “When Pete and Davey are in this kind of rare form, it’s wise to get on the back-beat with your Telecaster and stay out of their way”, said Costello.
Speaking of his own role as co-producer, Costello said, “I had all of the orchestrations and vocal parts in my head or on the page before we played a note, so it was essential that I worked closely with Steve Nieve to maintain the light and space in the arrangements and allow him to shine.”
Costello completed the picture by adding both guitar and his own vibraphone or celesta parts to his orchestrations but remarked, “Sebastian was there to make sure only the essential notes got onto the record, whether it was a fuzz-tone guitar or jazz bassoon.”
“In the final mixing, Sebastian did a beautiful job of keeping everything present but always lead by emotion or narrative, although when balancing the band, my voice and the quartet of woodwinds and horns that I’d written for ‘Stripping Paper’, I told him to “Just trust the blur.”
From today, fans who pre-order the 12-track standard or the 16-song deluxe album from digital retailers will instantly receive a download of two of the album’s standout tracks ‘Under Lime’ and ‘Unwanted Number’.
Asked for a further comment on the “Instant Gratification” phenomenon, Costello said, “That’s just the latest record business gimmick-speak for something you can get right away. I have to be straight with you; that sounds like a personal service that you might be offered in a dubious massage parlour.”
“I’d prefer to say that “The Elvis Costello Record Shop” is open for business again and when you pre-order the album, ‘Look Now’ you can get a couple of songs, RIGHT NOW”
Look out for more of these RIGHT NOW songs from ‘Look Now’ dropping in the weeks prior to the album’s release.