If you’re in a hurry to get back to that porno site, here it is: If an artist tried to do a rewrite of Elvis Costello’s Armed Forces, could come close to the vocal sound and song styles, but made the mistake of having his grandma track the drums, here’s your recording.
What is my problem, you ask? My problem is that there is some great stuff on here, and I kept on asking myself why I wasn’t loving it. I wanted to embrace this. Kinda like (if you are a guy) the girl you date who is beautiful who just can’t shift it into high gear. If you are a woman, the guy who looks like a stud, but…isn’t. You know what I mean. No amount of rationalization makes it work, and like Jane Cook from college (the name has been changed to protect me from my past!), though I tried to love this, I finally had to give up because it just was not there.
“Solid Action” and “Heartaches are History” are great songs in a “Pump It Up,” “Radio, Radio” and “Oliver’s Army” vein. But the drums are not there. In “Heartaches…” when the drummer goes to the ride cymbal on the chorus, the drums drop out. No bass drum at all. Pete Thomas of The Attractions was/is a master of bottom end, giving the Costello sound that throbbing feel. You need good feet. The drummer here is always a half step behind in another world. Plainly…bad. Such a shame because so many try to do the Costello thing and fall flat where the vocals stink and the songs just don’t cut it. That is not the case here.
If you like Costello, you will probably like this. I’m a purist, and the drum thing may not be as obvious to you. There are some great songs on here, and I hate to dissuade you from checking this out because of that. But there’s only 24 hours in a day, and so much money for CDs. You decide.
// Notes from the Road
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