A consistently good fourth album from the dependable Mancunian band. I had worried that Elbow were going to settle into blandness after the musical spice of their first two records had been diluted slightly on "Leaders of the Free World". And on first listen, the medium-paced, mellow songs on "The Seldom Seen Kid" don't grab really you. But the album's emotional range is revealed with time, from the soft-loud swells on "Starlings", the sneering uptempo lead single "Grounds For Divorce", to the sweepingly grandiose "Loneliness of the Tower Crane Driver". The waltzing horserace-fraud caper "The Fix", where Garvey duets with the gravelly-voiced Richard Hawley, gives some dark amusement before the album concludes in a more serious tone with a heartfelt tribute to a recently passed friend. What really stops lines like "the city sirens our violins" on "Mirrorball" from being anonymous urban melancholy is Guy Garvey's delicious baritone and the consistently high quality of his wordsmithing. Credit is also due for the elegant design and lyrics layout of the CD cover!
May 28, 2008
See blog entry: New design and new albums from 2008 (28 May, 2008)