Photo by Ray Di Pietro
Elvis Costello will deliver his 31st album this fall, a 14-song collection called Hey Clockface that was recorded in Helskini, Paris and New York with multiple musical combos featuring players that include longtime sideman Steve Nieve, guitarist Bill Frisell and Wilco’s Nels Cline.
The album, which Costello co-produced with Sebastian Krys, is due out Oct. 30 via Concord Records — and it can be pre-ordered now via Amazon.com or in a variety of bundles and formats.
Costello this week released the third track off the album, “We Are All Cowards Now,” which, like predecessors “No Flag” and “Hetty O’Hara Confidential,” was recorded by Costello alone at Suomenlinnan Studio in Helsinki in February. You can hear all three of those songs below.
After that session, Costello traveled to Les Studios Saint Germain in Paris, where he spent a weekend recording with Attractions/Imposters keyboardist Nieve, trumpet and flugel horn player Mickaél Gasche, cellist Pierre-François ‘Titi’ Dufou, drummer Ajuq and reed player Renaud-Gabriel Pion.
“I sang live on the studio floor, directing from the vocal booth,” Costello writes. “We cut nine songs in two days. We spoke very little. Almost everything the musicians played was a spontaneous response to the song I was singing. I’d had a dream of recording in Paris like this, one day.”
In New York, composer, arranger and trumpet player Michael Leonhart produced the session in collaboration with guitarists Cline and Frissell, with Costello finishing the material “via electrical wire.”
“I wanted to write ‘Helsinki-Paris-???’ on the record jacket like this was a perfume or an advertising agency,” Costello writes. “‘London’ was a possibility for the third city but London is forever. We’ll be there again. Michael sent this music to me from New York at the perfect time. It connected to elements in both of the previous sessions and completed the picture.”
“I wanted the record to be vivid, whether the songs demanded playing that was loud and jagged or intimate and beautiful.”
The new album is Costello’s first since the release of Look Now in 2018.
Below, see the album’s full tracklist, and hear the three songs recorded in Helsinki.
Elvis Costello, Hey Clockface
1. “Revolution #49”
2, “No Flag”
3, “They’re Not Laughing at Me Now”
4. “Newspaper Pane”
5. “I Do (Zula’s Song)”
6. “We Are All Cowards Now”
7. “Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me?”
8. “The Whirlwind”
9. “Hetty O’Hara Confidential”
10. “The Last Confession of Vivian Whip”
11. “What Is It That I Need That I Don’t Already Have?”
12. “Radio Is Everything”
13. “I Can’t Say Her Name”
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Elvis Costello & The Imposters announce new album ‘Look Now,’ debut 2 songs
- Elvis Costello reveals ‘very aggressive’ cancer as he cancels tour to recover from surgery
- Video: Elvis Costello and The Roots turn ‘I Want You’ into a 13-minute slow burn
- Video: Elvis Costello & The Roots play ‘Fallon,’ cover The Specials in Brooklyn
- Elvis Costello and The Roots debut ‘Walk Us Uptown’ — first single off ‘Wise Up Ghost’
- Elvis Costello and The Roots to drop ‘moody, brooding’ album ‘Wise Up Ghost’ this fall
It sounds like Declan is trying way too hard to be relevant. I wish that he would just put together some well written music with his characteristic melodies, grooves, harmonies and interesting lyrics.
Oh God, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve tried No Flag and Hetty O’Hara Confidential, and they both grate on my nerves. Thing is, he could be just as pointed (and relevant) with songs like Oliver’s Army. Has Elvis truly left the building?