The resurrection of Elton John continues as he approves of younger talent (recently praising Lorde) and gets remade/remixed by Pnau, yet also hooks up with 70-something Leon Russell and goes all Las Vegas at Caesar's Palace.
Here again with long-time lyricist Bernie Taupin (and produced by T-Bone Burnett), the piano-man and pals don't adjust the successful template of his classic period on the early 70s albums (Tumbleweed Connection to Caribou) where the imagery sometimes alludes to Americana. And although they don't crack another Tiny Dancer or Madman Across the Water, you can't help admire the confidence the 66-year-old brings to muscular pieces such as The Ballad of Blind Tom, the groove-riding swing 'n' backbeat of Can't Stay Alone Tonight and the funky sing-along Mexican Vacation.
Sometimes he leans towards the melodramatic (Voyeur) when restraint might have served better (as it does on the poetic My Quicksand or Home Again). But this shines at that familiar point between down-home blues and gospel (Take This Dirty Water, A Town Called Jubilee). His brief piano interludes - especially Dream #3 - hint at another possible direction but for now the old recipes still work, although hit singles no longer leap out.
Verdict: Sing us a song, you're the other piano man
Click here to buy The Diving Board by Elton John
- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz