Declan Patrick MacManus alias Elvis Costello is not only 24 years ahead of his legendary namesake - with his new album "Hey Clockface" he proves once again that he is not only the "King of Rock 'n' Roll", but also the Elvis who can lay claim to the title "King of musical diversity". But in the end he has much more in common with the smart Buddy Holly than with the man from Memphis.
Elvis Costello loves the bang effect. With every new album the motto is: "Hooray, here I am again, and everything you thought you knew about me is over! With thieving delight, he irritates fans and critics alike. As a teenager he started with folk music, from 1977 on he was one of the co-founders of British punk. Later he tried his hand at his own contribution to the "Great American Songbook" with Burt Bacharach, bowed to Charles Mingus with Hal Willner, celebrated chamber music with the Brodsky Quartet, grazed on jazz with his wife Diana Krall, produced hip-hop with The Roots, sunk with Allen Toussaint in the swamps of Louisiana, took part in a jazz theater piece by Roy Nathanson, played with the Mingus Big Band and much more. Hardly any other musician can demonstrate such a stylistic range as the notorious eclectic Costello.
So far, so boring - at least for Costello himself. Why should these stylistic leaps only be possible from one album to the next? His most recent work "Hey Clockface" works like Robert Altman's film epic "Short Cuts", a mosaic of personal extreme situations that are all somehow connected: Costello uses elements of chamber music, old-time and modern jazz, punk, folk and chanson to put pieces together that should never fit together. When asked about this association, Costello is flattered: "The comparison with something I was involved in through my friend Hal Willner [with the song "Punishing Kiss", written by Costello and his ex-wife Cait O'RiordanAnm. Movies definitely have an influence on my songs, because this form of storytelling fascinates me..."