Sunday, 30 November 2008

Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid

Cover I'm often left feeling guilty about Elbow.

I came away from their Delamere gig feeling slightly disappointed. Whilst they were clearly on form, and all the songs were of high quality, I said at the time:

"Most (if not all) of Elbow's songs are quite heavy. There's nothing with vigor, nothing with "get up and go". Whilst I still say that every single song was very impressive, 90 minutes of it (including encore) did end up being a bit too much. Short bursts are brilliant, such a long set I'm not too sure."

Their fourth album was released back in March, and yet it wasn't until after they won the Mercury Prize that I ventured out and bought it. And now it's taken 6 weeks to actually put finger to keyboard to write a review of it.

But, I think there's something extra here. Perhaps I just wasn't in an Elbow "mood" back in June. Because, after hearing more and more tracks from the album, there was only one group I wanted to win the Mercury. And the reason it's taken so long to review the album is because it's been in the CD player in my car for most of that period.

Elbow's music is heavy. It's powerful. And this makes in brilliant. The Seldom Seen Kid just proves this. And, after listening to it again and again - a truly worthy winner of the Mercury

It takes less than a minute for the album to state it's intent, with the powerful chord in Starling. It makes you sit up and listen. Listen to the brilliant lyrics.

We made the moon our mirrorball. The streets an empty stage. The city sirens violins. Everything has changed. (Mirrorball)

A modern take on romanticism. There's haunting melodies (Weather to Fly), tuneful duets (The Fix), and true brilliance in what is still a strong contender for Tune of the Year (One Day Like This).

Not one bad track. In one way, I ended up being surprised by how much I like it. But, I think deep down, I should have expected it. And it's a very worthwhile purchase even if, like me, it's taken you a while a figure it out.

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