Friday, May 23, 2008

Elvis Costello 6: Trust

Trust followed a period of doubt, disenchantment and introspection (not to be his last) that was only slightly reflected in the lyrics. Elvis wrote some of the songs on piano—which pervades throughout the album—and pulled a few from his teenage notebooks. The words are more oblique than ever, and many struggle to fit inside the measures. His voice is a little deeper, and a little weary. It’s still a terrific album.
“Clubland” was the current single, and opens the proceedings with a sinister tone. “Lovers Walk” and “Strict Time” turn the New Orleans sound of the Meters upside down. Big numbers like “You’ll Never Be A Man”, “White Knuckles” and “From A Whisper To A Scream” (featuring Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze on dueling vocals) make one sigh with relief that such bile is directed at someone else. “Shot With His Own Gun” is a hypnotic murder mystery without a discernable plot. The solo finale, “Big Sister’s Clothes”, is a disguised attack on Margaret Thatcher—also not to be his last—while “Fish ‘N Chip Paper” and “Pretty Words” (featuring the most economical overuse of crash cymbals on any rock album) bemoan the degradation of society. “Watch Your Step” is a weak variation on “Secondary Modern” (from Get Happy!!) but the prize goes to “New Lace Sleeves”, easily one of Elvis’s best songs and one of the Attractions’ best performances.
As good as the original album is, the Rykodisc reissue made it even better with an excellent selection of bonus tracks, all but one of which were also included on the later Rhino version. Either reissue is essential for the inclusion of such gems as “Black Sails In The Sunset”, “Big Sister” (a ska version of the album closer) and even Elvis’s own fabulous version of “Sad About Girls”, one of the better songs from the Attractions’ “solo” album from a year earlier.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions Trust (1981)—5
1994 Rykodisc: same as 1981, plus 9 extra tracks
2003 Rhino: same as 1981, plus 17 extra tracks

1 comment:

  1. Christopher SjoholmJanuary 1, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    These days, and who am I fooling, probably most days my favorite record by this man and his group. Self laceration and honest reflection in the mirror- it allowed a career to go forward for me. It also introduced a deeper, more melodic sophistication to the music, which has benefited his career ever since.