And burn a broken effigy of me and you
It was either this or 1982's bucolic 'Imperial Bedroom', which followed the pure country of 1981's 'Almost Blue'. IB is a lyricist's delight, full of brilliant bile; copious quotable couplets. For King of America EC wandered back into the world of 'Americana'. He'd already earned his spurs in that genre to be honest; ironic that the backing band for his New Wave debut 'My Aim is True' was the West Coast soft rockers Clover, the type of band that had the punks spitting feathers in the late 70s. I saw them at Blackburn Town Hall at the time, supporting Lynyrd Skynyrd and they were blandtastic; even for me.
In the mid 80s Elvis fell out with The Attractions' bass player Bruce Thomas, eventually leading to him splitting the band.
He toured solo in the States and brushed shoulders with T-Bone Burnette with whom he shared the bill. Elvis relocated in LA at Ocean Way studios with T- Bone as the producer, who assembled a crew of top notch session players, notably the TCB Band who had backed the other Elvis in the 70s. There's a country twang for sure, but also intimacy in the brushed drums and upright bass backing. Much admired for his 'voice like a can opener' I always preferred Elvis when he stopped shouting at me and crooned, and there is some great singing here, particularly on 'American Without Tears', 'Brilliant Mistake' and 'Indoor Fireworks'.
'Sleep of the Just' still knocks me sidewards.
This was probably the last great Costello album; for me his most intimate, engaging and compelling.