Skip to content

Punch The Clock – Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Punch The Clock

1983, 6/10
Elvis Costello went for the pop jugular with Punch The Clock, teaming up with the production team of Langer and Winstanley, who had helped to create hits for Madness and Dexy’s Midnight Runners. But it’s not a good fit for Costello’s music – plastering backing vocals and horn sections on constrains the fluid ensemble playing of The Attractions and feels as cynically calculated as the album title implies. But there are a handful of terrific songs here, and even though the overall sound of the Punch The Clock is dated, it’s worth hearing the highlights.

The smooth soul of ‘Everyday I Write The Book’ was Costello’s only US top 40 hit song, and it’s worthwhile, benefiting from the slick sound and backing singers, and showcasing Costello’s deftly punning lyrics. I’ve always found it confusing that the first wave of British punk ran out of steam before Margaret Thatcher’s conservative, repressive government, but two of Costello’s best songs here are directed at The Iron Lady – ‘Shipbuilding’ is stately and dignified with Chet Baker’s trumpet, while ‘Pills and Soap’ is tense and brooding.

I don’t have much use for the rest of Punch The Clock, as it doesn’t play to Costello’s strengths, but there are a few songs here that are essential.

 

5 thoughts on “Punch The Clock – Elvis Costello and the Attractions Leave a comment

  1. I’m listening to this record and this trumpet comes on and I check it out and it’s Chet Baker. Beautiful. Distinct sound. ( Hotfox did a take on the Stones ‘Waiting For a Friend’. Sonny Rollins takes a great solo and makes it my favorite Stones song)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

MyYellowFeather

Your guide to style! 💛

Old Rope

"It looked like rope, old rope"

The French Inhaler's Album Reviews

How are you meant to make your way in the world, when you're not cut out for working?

Desert Island Masterpieces

Just a 19-Year-Old Who Loves Stellar Music

mostlyacousticsteve

acoustic music reviews

Living a Beautiful Life

~ Short Stories, Flights of Fancy and Everyday Anecdotes ~

The Nerd Cave

¨You´ve taken your first step into a larger world.¨ -Obi-Wan Kenobi

Hack's Back Pages

Ruminations on Musical Milestones, 1955-1990

The Long Common

A Music Guide

The search for my creative identity

Bad at writing. Not bad at photography.

%d bloggers like this: