x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

This is easily one of Costello’s and The Roots’ more organic recordings.

Elvis Costello and The Roots

Wise Up Ghost

(Blue Note)

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Elvis Costello and The Roots may initially seem like an odd pairing, but old-school fans of the former English songwriter know his career is peppered with adventurous partnerships. His teaming up with the revered American hip-hop group stems for their initial joint performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where The Roots are the house-band. Impressed by the chemistry, the artists initially hit the studio to rework some of Costello’s former hits before deciding to jam out some original material. The result is easily one of Costello’s and The Roots’ more organic recordings; the opener Walk Us Uptown feels like it was created on the spot as Costello snarls political missives over The Roots’ muscular and funky backdrop, including a menacing piano and scampering bass lines. Sugar Don’t Work unfurls languidly before arriving at some truly luscious string arrangements, while If I Could Believe gets all gospel with both Costello and The Roots really locking together. Wise Up Ghost is a not serious album recorded by serious musicians. It’s a fine message to respective fans that both artists haven’t lost their vibrant touch despite years in the game.

sasaeed@thenational.ae

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