Elvis Costello & the Imposters

Momofuku (Lost Highway)

Phases and Stages

Elvis Costello & the Imposters

Momofuku (Lost Highway)

The latest batch of Elvis Costello songs is characteristically mysterious. At one point, the prolific song shape-shifter claimed to have sworn off recording, but Momofuku's appearance materializes as if out of a ramen package: instantaneous. (Momofuku Ando invented the noodle convenience.) Unlike recent Costello discs, there's no theme or concept, just 12 tunes in a familiar style, some mad rock with a dash of soul and country, and wordplay so furious it's difficult to keep up. The swirling "Stella Hurt" is fascinating, although the abrupt ending docks it half a point. In an unusual turn, there are two co-writes: the modern country "Song With Rose," a collaboration with Rosanne Cash, and the funny, creepy "Pardon Me, Madam, My Name Is Eve" pairing with Loretta Lynn. Like some of his best work, Momofuku feels thrown together, loose and natural. That he can produce meaningful, listenable work in such situations has always been Elvis Costello's forte.


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