Elbow was a relative late-comer to the nineties Britpop/shoegaze
they came in following bands like the criminally under-appreciated
Catherine Wheel, building their music on the same foundations
of brilliant melodies interspersed with dynamic arrangements and engaging
hooks. Their early releases were a bit more subdued and took a while
to hit the listener square in the head with their subtle power. Their
previous release Leaders Of The Free World was much more hard
hitting out of the gate, but still contained Guy Garvey's amazingly
vibrant voice and the band's penchant for brilliant melody. Not much
has changed, but a lot is different with The Seldom Seen Kid.
The lead track, as per usual with an Elbow release, is subdued and
a bit hazy, creating a certain sort of ambiance that sets up the album
in a just-so-perfect kind of way. "Starlings" moves from
quiet acoustic passages to blasts of horns, as if announcing the arrival
of some spectacular royalty
not far off. What follows is some
of the most amazing music to come from over shores in quite a few
years, exploring the melodic territory began by bands such as The
Boo Radleys and continued by addicts like Radiohead. The
production on these songs is tremendous, each sound focused and tight,
filling the perfect spaces to create a lush wall of sound that easily
helps transport the listener to the world where Elbow is taking them.
"The Bones Of You" is classic Elbow, spacey guitars and
solid drumming that drops to a mere shadow when necessary, prompting
me to claim that Elbow is the new Brian Wilson
the insanity. "Grounds For Divorce" is pure, unadulterated
brilliance - a drinking song of sorts imbued with a rare, nervous
energy as Garvey claims, "I've been working on a cocktail called
grounds for divorce/polishing a compass that I hold in my sleep/ doubt
comes in on sticks but then he kicks like a horse
music of the song perfectly conveys that same energy as the trashy
drums work their way in and out of the mix, a fuzzed-out bass guitar
strolling through the song, offsetting the banging piano and ethereal
guitars, all working their way in and around the tremulous vocals
of Garvey. Brilliance in action. "Weather To Fly" stands
in stark contrast to the bitter power of "Grounds For Divorce,"
more subdued and beautiful, containing the same laid-back power that
so much of Peter Gabriel's work holds. Garveys' voice is resplendent
as he works his way through a dreamscape of hope and joy captured
in a memory as delicate as the softly muted drumming and rich horns
that carry the song on its way.
The Seldom Seen Kid is probably the most breathtaking and
dynamic album to come out of Britain since Embrace's Out
Of Nothing. So if you've been spending your time In Rainbows
of living the Viva La Vida, I suggest you take a break from
the easy to find and find some of the real good stuff
and company have hit the proverbial nail on the head with this collection
of tunes, showing that they rock harder, better, and louder than any
band going in Britain today.
Check out more
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!