Elvis Costello and the Roots: Wise Up Ghost
Fans couldn’t have expected any better from this unlikely studio collaboration.
Fans couldn’t have expected any better from this unlikely studio collaboration, said Seth Colter Walls in Spin. Elvis Costello and the house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon have joined forces on the show’s stage numerous times, but those performances didn’t foretell an album that’s “more exciting and hooky than much recent work from either camp.” In fact, “more than half of Wise Up Ghost is faultless.” Credit Roots drummer Questlove and producer Steven Mandel for the album’s edgy, shadowy atmosphere, said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. “They’ve made what sounds like a noir song cycle that borrows from hip-hop, neo-soul, and dark-of-the-night singer-songwriter concept albums without fully embracing any of those genres.” Only late does the energy flag. “Tempos drag in the Latin-flavored ‘Cinco Minutos Con Vos,’” and “the title track is a mood piece that never climbs out of neutral.” Those tracks “feel like experiments that fell short, while the rest of Wise Up Ghost revels in its uneasiness.”