Record of the Week

presented by Music Direct

Elvis Costello – Imperial Bedroom

Elvis Costello - Imperial Bedroom

Mobile Fidelity continues their streak of Elvis Costello classics with Imperial Bedroom.

Hitting the charts in the summer of 1982, Imperial Bedroom marked what would eventually be only one of the many turns Costello’s career would take. The twang of Blue now put to bed, Costello returns to the pop side of the fence, yet former producer Nick Lowe is absent on this record.  Turning to Geoff Emerick as producer and engineer, Imperial Bedroom takes a spin towards the Beatle-esq, with a wider range of orchestration and a few longer tracks peppering his standard faire of short, quirky pop songs.

Whether the allusion to a husband’s affair in “A Long Honeymoon,” affirmation of nervous love pervading “Man Out of Time,” or spousal abuse in “A Boy With a Problem,” don’t let Costello’s smooth tone fool you.  Beneath the smoky melodies an angst-ridden world still lurks.

Sonically, this record is an analog triumph.  The benefit of the using original mastertape is immediately evident. The MoFi album possesses a world of width and depth that is virtually nonexistent on the original US and UK pressings.  Where the cymbals are truncated in tone and dynamics on the Columbia version, they now fade to infinity, sounding much livelier.

Costello’s voice has a warm, throaty, reverb laden body throughout and audiophiles seeking the “pinpoint imaging” effect will enjoy the MoFi treatment of this classic, whether through their speakers or headphones. Now full of uncovered low level detail,   this version of Imperial Bedroom is destined to become a major hit with headphone listeners.

Be warned, there is so much new information on this record, ADHD audiophiles may freak out; the real standout is the liberation of Steve Nieve’s keyboard playing. Buried in the original mix like Michael Anthony’s bass lines on an early Van Halen record, it’s far easier to understand his contribution to the overall sound. His varied keyboard riffs are a great addition to the overall sound.

Often it is argued that todays remastered records rarely reach the level of excellence that the early original pressings do.  In this case, MoFi has exceeded the original in every way – the increase in clarity emphasizes the genius present on both sides of the mixing console.

You can purchase this album from Music Direct here.