October 30, 2020 Elvis Costello – Hey Clockface (Album Review)
Time is a very strange idea to wrap your thoughts around. Sometimes it moves extremely fast, and other times it seemingly drags at a snail’s pace. Whatever the case, some might question what time is all about, and the award-winning Elvis Costello does just this on his latest album, Hey Clockface.
Making an impact that extends from Pub Rock to Punk Rock and the New Wave movement of the 1980s, Costello is one of our generation’s most eccentric artists. Difficult to box in, he has made his mark letting the music and songwriting dictate the direction he goes, and not the other way around. Now, with Hey Clockface, due out on Friday, October 30, 2020 via Concord Records, he takes you on a lovely, cinematic journey like no other.
Costello’s 31st studio album, it is a relatively quick turn around from 2018’s Look Now, and all truth, it could have not come at a better moment. As we all know, 2020 has been marred by COVID-19, and because of such, it has inspired many of us to become more introspective. Complete with 14 songs, Hey Clockface somehow captures these feelings, but with a sound that never stays in one place for long. Beginning with the enchanting instrumentation and spoken poetry of “Revolution #49,” “No Flag” quickly follows with a spacey Rock-n-Roll tone that immediately grabs your attention. From here Costello leads you along a story that goes from the down tone of “They’re Laughing At Me Now,” to Jazz lounge like sensation of “I Do,” to a straight-up psychedelic turn with “Hetty O’Hara Confidential.”
Truly compelling from song to song, each one not only has a different sound but a different kind of story to tell. For example, “Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me” transports back to the Ragtime era, and then “The Last Confession of Vivian Whip” entrances with its extremely natural piano ballad vibe. Possessing a deep, dark voice, each song has a matching thoughtful arrangement. Analyzing Costello’s voice a bit more, he calmly sings each word, clear and with powerful emotions. Some might say he is similar to a Johnny Cash, others would argue a Leonard Cohen, but no matter the comparison, everyone can agree he is truly one of a kind.
In enough words, Elvis Costello has outdone himself yet again with Hey Clockface. Melancholic at times, but also upbeat and very cheerful at others, it is these different moods which make it such an intellectual piece of art. Which leads us to question what is the moral of Hey Clockface’s story? Well, that is up to you find out, but just one listen to the clever lyricism of Costello and you will see that this is a tale of life. Urging you to take the time to explore this album, let it sink in and then marvel in it all, because Cryptic Rock gives Hey Clockface 5 out of 5 stars.