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Elvis Costello rocks out from the back porch


NEW YORK (AP) — Elvis Costello’s 32nd album rings with the sound of a tight rock ‘n’ roll combo sweating together on a tiny stage, feeding off each other to produce a joyful noise.

Costello and his three-piece band, the Imposters, were never in the same city, much less the same room, as they made “The Boy Named If,” which is out Friday. They were waiting out the coronavirus, like everyone else, and looking to do something productive.

After writing, Costello would make an initial recording of a song with his vocals and guitar at his home in Vancouver. He’d send it to Pete Thomas, who retreated to his basement in Los Angeles to add drums. Bass player Davey Faragher was next, before it was sent to keyboard wizard Steve Nieve in France. Nicole Atkins added guest vocals on the song, “My Most Beautiful Mistake,” from a fifth location.

Occasionally they’d jerry-rig a FaceTime connection so they could look at each other, although that wasn’t conducive to recording because of delays in each connection.

Producer Sebastian Krys, from his own home, “did a terrific job in making it sound not like it was something made with a construction kit,” Costello said.

“I think everybody surprised themselves how we found ourselves in our basement or spare room playing and it sounded so vibrant,” he said. “We didn’t let that hold us back. When we found out that it worked, it just spurred us on.”

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