Most of a 'review' of "Last Year's Model" by my friend Evan. Please understand his enthusiasm in the context of the entire album being his idea...
"The opening salvo of 'Malcontent' and 'Miss Modesty' makes one do a triple take at their boom box wondering what alternate reality they've just fallen into (and why are the Coke cans green?) The spot on delivery of 9LL's Declanistic howl brings actual two-tone tears. You find yourself asking " Did Stiff Records hide this from us?!? SHAME ON THEM!!!" But no, it's a bloke from South Dakota recording in his bedroom (ALL BY HIMSELF). Not only is the voice cracking, but a familiar Steve Nieve organ pumps away in glorious concert with the 'bet you can't tell it's not the Attractions' rhythm section. 'It Doesn't Matter Which Girl' follows the 1-2 punch of the opening tracks with a plaintiff wail of want that could have easily been on any one of the 1st three E.C. lps.
But 9LL is no one trick pony. If the cd would have continued in the same vein , it would be a keeper sent from heaven, but not only has he apprehended the sound of the Holy Trinity (American Heartbeat, Under Control, Rue the Day) but has navigated and mastered the various incarnations of Costello's career, from country (Lonely Empty Feeling), smokey bar room jazz (Fool's Lament, Complicit) later day MacManus rock (Mercantile), 50's laments (In Darkness and in Tears), and Orchestra (Out Of This Mess).
The other astounding feat is the lyrics, which match the twisting, fully formed from the head of Shakespeare quality that Costello so easily peels off. All the wordplay and transfixed angst is here, but delivered by 9LL in a personal and heartfelt fashion.
After such a display one cannot dismiss this as "He's a good mimic!" to quote Graham Chapman. There is a difference to mere aping of an influence, which 99% of the world seems to inflict. The ability to assimilate, internalize then produce something new but so wonderfully familiar is a treat covered in chocolate and Playboys.
The song 'E.C. for a day' is at the same time ironic and only partly right, as NineLegLuke can be Costello any time he wants..."