Music: Painted From Memory

Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach

It's an inspired pairing: as composers, both men have a knack for knotty yet supple melodies, and Costello's bitter takes on romance are not far removed from the sometimes jaundiced eye of Bacharach's best partner, lyricist Hal David. Two years ago, Costello and Bacharach co-wrote the song God Give Me Strength, included here, for the film Grace of My Heart. If only the rest of this album were up to that stunningly well-crafted peak. Bacharach brings out a new directness in Costello's singing and verse, but the millstone is cloying production. These engagingly sinuous tunes deserve better than cheesy keyboards and...

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