Elbow – Little Fictions Review 

Whether it is the crowd’s roar of their earnest rock anthems, or the lyrics to the anthems themselves, Elbow have always been a band to unify the masses with their track lists. Since their big Mercury Prize win in 2008 with The Seldom Seen Kid, their growing fan base has become accustomed to the sentimentality of Guy Garvey’s intricate lyricism and affectionate backing tracks, and not much has changed in 2017’s Little Fictions; a soft deliberation of love found, kept and lost.

Little Fictions begins with Magnificent (She Says), the first single to be dropped in prep for February’s release. Through and through it is quintessentially Elbow, from the swells of orchestra in the chorus and simplistic guitar riff that carries the track, to the unmistakable Northern twang in Garvey’s voice. The lyrics are so heartfelt and genuine; much like so many other Elbow tracks, we are introduced to characters we begin to feel real connections to because of the sheer artistry in the words. Usually these lyrics are what stand out most from an Elbow track, however track two, Gentle Storm, tells a different story. Despite drummer Richard Jupp’s departure from the band last year, the percussion is sounding stronger than ever. A Gentle Storm pretty much sums up the whole feel of the track, with silky and sweeping chords adding emphasis to Garvey’s vocals every now and then, which, too, is given a velvety touch in the echoic effect put on them. The percussion elevates the track into something that would’ve been very throwaway without it. The same sort of instrumentalism features on K2 and Little Fictions, giving the track list a wistful undertone. It’s nice.

Though the album is mostly filled with slow, easy-going ballads, it does have its livelier moments. All Disco, while not particularly up tempo, is given boosts of energy in its surging of instruments and backing vocals. Firebrand & Angel continually builds upon itself with shuffling drums, a poking bass, and pretty orchestral backing. Little Fictions is hoisted at the end with an inflamed drum section and twirl of synths. Even the more depleted tracks are enraptured somewhat by the intensely warm vocals of Guy Garvey. In the undulant mix of humble and fancy, solemn and excited, there is noticeable momentum. The songs naturally glide into the next. At no point did I feel bored, or that the album comes to a standstill – in so many aspects, this album is beautifully done.

From the dismal tales of “missing you so violently” in Montparnasse, to the liberating actions of “throwing both her arms around the world” in Magnificent (She Says), Little Fictions takes us on a smooth journey. In many ways, it only reiterates what Elbow have been mastering for years, but carry on doing it, because it’s fab.

Elbow – Little Fictions: 9/10

Ellie Chivers

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