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Elvis Costello|Hey Clockface

Hey Clockface

ELVIS COSTELLO

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Hey Clockface arrived quickly on the heels of Look Now, but where that 2018 album seemed constructed as classicist Elvis Costello, drawing upon his strengths as a melodicist and the muscle of his regular backing band the Imposters, this 2020 affair feels as if it was designed to surprise. It comes into focus quite slowly, with reeds and strings murmuring in a quiet drone before Costello launches into the spoken word of "Revolution #49." The spell is broken in a flurry of gnarled guitars that usher in "No Flag," a transition that establishes how Hey Clockface doesn't follow any particular path. Apart from the slight emphasis on poetry -- it surfaces again toward the end of the album on "Radio Is Everything," a track destined to be played in the dead hours of a starless night -- none of the twists on the album are necessarily a new trick from Costello, but the its execution makes every new turn feel slightly surprising, occasionally jarring. Much of this has as much to do with the sequencing of the record as it does the performances themselves. The dense, clever boogie of "Hetty O'Hara Confidential" is followed by the torch song "The Last Confession of Vivian Whip," and the ominous crawl of "We Are All Cowards Now" is countered by a boisterous update of Fats Waller on the album's title track. The parts fit together, just in ways the ear isn't quite accustomed to hearing, and the same is true of many of the arrangements on Hey Clockface. The quieter moments require a listener to concentrate, then they're blown away by the cacophony, lured back in by a generous bit of old-fashioned merriment. It shows Costello's mastery of mood and storytelling, the kind of skill he's acquired over the course of a long career, but the key to Hey Clockface is that these techniques are applied to a record that's as restless as anything Costello made in his younger days.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Hey Clockface

Elvis Costello

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1
Revolution #49
00:02:41

Sebastian Krys, Producer, Recording Producer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Melodica, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - François Delabrière, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pierre-François Dufour, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Renaud Gabriel Pion, English Horn, AssociatedPerformer - AJUQ, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mickaël Gasche, Horn, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

2
No Flag
00:03:56

ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Organ, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Eetu Seppälä, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

3
They’re Not Laughing At Me Now
00:04:26

Sebastian Krys, Producer, Recording Producer - Steve Nieve, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - François Delabrière, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pierre-François Dufour, Cello, Foot Stamping, AssociatedPerformer - Renaud Gabriel Pion, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - AJUQ, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Mickaël Gasche, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

4
Newspaper Pane
00:04:10

ELVIS COSTELLO, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Bill Frisell, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Michael Leonhart, Producer, Drums, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Organ, Piano, Trombone, Trumpet, Recording Engineer, Synthesizer, Baritone Guitar, Recording Producer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

5
I Do (Zula’s Song)
00:03:49

Sebastian Krys, Producer, Recording Producer - Steve Nieve, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - François Delabrière, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pierre-François Dufour, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - AJUQ, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mickaël Gasche, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

6
We Are All Cowards Now
00:03:36

ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer, Voices, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Eetu Seppälä, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

7
Hey Clockface / How Can You Face Me?
00:02:56

Sebastian Krys, Producer, Recording Producer - Andy Razaf, ComposerLyricist - Thomas "Fats" Waller, ComposerLyricist - Steve Nieve, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - François Delabrière, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Renaud Gabriel Pion, Clarinet, AssociatedPerformer - AJUQ, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mickaël Gasche, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

8
The Whirlwind
00:03:17

Sebastian Krys, Producer, Recording Producer - Steve Nieve, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - François Delabrière, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pierre-François Dufour, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Renaud Gabriel Pion, Bass Clarinet, AssociatedPerformer - AJUQ, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Mickaël Gasche, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

9
Hetty O'Hara Confidential
00:04:14

ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Guitar, Organ, Vocals, Synthesizer, Drum Programming, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Eetu Seppälä, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

10
The Last Confession Of Vivian Whip
00:02:59

Sebastian Krys, Producer, Recording Producer - Steve Nieve, Composer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Author, Producer, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - François Delabrière, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Muriel Teodori, Composer - Pierre-François Dufour, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Renaud Gabriel Pion, Bass Clarinet, English Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Mickaël Gasche, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

11
What Is It That I Need That I Don’t Already Have?
00:03:46

Sebastian Krys, Producer, Recording Producer - Steve Nieve, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - François Delabrière, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pierre-François Dufour, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Renaud Gabriel Pion, Flute, AssociatedPerformer - Mickaël Gasche, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

12
Radio Is Everything
00:04:25

Nick Movshon, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nels Cline, Steel Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Bill Frisell, Guitar, Organ, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Michael Leonhart, Producer, Piano, Trumpet, Recording Engineer, Recording Producer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Danton Boller, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Chris Bullock, Alto Flute, AssociatedPerformer - Emily Hope Price, Cello, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

13
I Can’t Say Her Name
00:02:57

Sebastian Krys, Producer, Recording Producer - Steve Nieve, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - François Delabrière, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pierre-François Dufour, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Renaud Gabriel Pion, Clarinet, AssociatedPerformer - AJUQ, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mickaël Gasche, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

14
Byline
00:02:40

Sebastian Krys, Producer, Recording Producer - Steve Nieve, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - ELVIS COSTELLO, Producer, Vocals, Recording Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - François Delabrière, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pierre-François Dufour, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Renaud Gabriel Pion, Bass Clarinet, AssociatedPerformer - AJUQ, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mickaël Gasche, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2020 Elvis Costello

Album Description

Hey Clockface arrived quickly on the heels of Look Now, but where that 2018 album seemed constructed as classicist Elvis Costello, drawing upon his strengths as a melodicist and the muscle of his regular backing band the Imposters, this 2020 affair feels as if it was designed to surprise. It comes into focus quite slowly, with reeds and strings murmuring in a quiet drone before Costello launches into the spoken word of "Revolution #49." The spell is broken in a flurry of gnarled guitars that usher in "No Flag," a transition that establishes how Hey Clockface doesn't follow any particular path. Apart from the slight emphasis on poetry -- it surfaces again toward the end of the album on "Radio Is Everything," a track destined to be played in the dead hours of a starless night -- none of the twists on the album are necessarily a new trick from Costello, but the its execution makes every new turn feel slightly surprising, occasionally jarring. Much of this has as much to do with the sequencing of the record as it does the performances themselves. The dense, clever boogie of "Hetty O'Hara Confidential" is followed by the torch song "The Last Confession of Vivian Whip," and the ominous crawl of "We Are All Cowards Now" is countered by a boisterous update of Fats Waller on the album's title track. The parts fit together, just in ways the ear isn't quite accustomed to hearing, and the same is true of many of the arrangements on Hey Clockface. The quieter moments require a listener to concentrate, then they're blown away by the cacophony, lured back in by a generous bit of old-fashioned merriment. It shows Costello's mastery of mood and storytelling, the kind of skill he's acquired over the course of a long career, but the key to Hey Clockface is that these techniques are applied to a record that's as restless as anything Costello made in his younger days.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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