Elvis Costello releases his first new single of 2020, with more promised, Getintothis‘ Stephen Birch takes a listen.
Elvis Costello has returned with his brand new single No Flag on Concord Records. This is his first new material since last year’s four-song e.p. Purse, with The Imposters.
The song has been accompanied by an animated video with full lyrics by Eamon Singer and Arlo McFurlow.
Costello travelled to Finland in mid-winter, spending just three days recording at Suomenlinnan Studio on the outskirts of Helsinki in February. The multi-instrumentalist played everything on the single and is the only artist credited.
Asked about the significance of choosing Finland as a location, the ever-elusive Elvis explained, “I wanted to go somewhere nobody knew me. So, this is ‘The Helsinki Sound.’”
No Flag sees a return to an angrier approach and seems to give voice to and fit in a time of rampant nationalism and a new wave of civil unrest going global.
“No time for this kind of love / No flag waving high above”, Costello growls with scorn and intent. “No sign for the dark place that I live / No God for the damn that I don’t give.”
Earlier in the year as the full extent of the Covid 19 pandemic was becoming apparent, Costello performed an acoustic set from his home in Vancouver to raise funds for UK healthcare support network Artists4NHS.
Back in April, after the sad loss of his friend and songwriting idol John Prine, Costello shared an interesting insight about Prine‘s huge influence on his own career: “The songs were filled with what sounded like sound advice from a friend in a crowded bar or a voice in the margins, but never one that was self-pitying or self-regarding.”
Tantalisingly, this is not the only release scheduled for the summer, as the next instalment from Elvis Costello is promised for July 10th.