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

This Weeks Music Video with Elbow, Ryan Adams, British Sea Power, Pond, Alex Lahey and Real Estate 

This Weeks Music Video with Pharrell Williams, Weezer, Major Lazer, Belle & Sebastian, Kurt Vile and Elbow

Single Review – The Maccabees – Something Like Happiness

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The new single from the Maccabees will be found on their forthcoming fourth studio album titled Marks to Prove It and out on July 31st. ‘Something Like Happiness is a track that has shades of Elbow in it’s instrumentation and arrangement with a little bit more noise and whilst the contemplative verses hold some worth, the verses sound pretty empty and a little unimaginative as you wait for that part to be over with. To put it simply, don’t do Elbow if it can’t be delivered as well and if that sound has already been worn thin. A nice track, but not one to get you excited for their new album.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Elbow – What Time Do You Call This?

The latest single from festival song-along favourites Elbow was penned exclusively for new British rom-com Man Up. It’s a trademark Elbow track, with frontman Guy Garvey’s comforting Northern vocals taking centre stage surrounded by gentle drumbeats, soaring strings, twinkling piano and a backing chorus of “What time do you call this?” that will no doubt be chanted from the crowd at the band’s next festival appearance. All in all it’s a solid track, but something is missing; passion.

Elbow have a knack for putting untold emotion into their music. They know how to slowly build a track, adding layer upon layer of vocals and strings until it comes to a dramatic climax; that’s the part where the crowd start singing along, swept up in emotion. Garvey’s voice can be soulful and powerful; he can whisper lyrics and hold you on the edge of your seat, or belt out notes with all the breath in his lungs to make the hairs on your arm stand on end. What Time Do You Call This? lacks all of these elements. Despite the layers of melodies and rhythms, the track is flat and the crescendo isn’t dramatic enough to move the listener. Garvey’s vocals seem dull and unmoved, as though he’s not invested in the emotions of the song and doesn’t even believe in his own lyrics; no wonder when he’s telling someone else’s story rather than his own.

What Time Do You Call This? isn’t a bad track; it’s just a slightly disappointing release from a band that have so much more to offer us. It’s a pleasant soundtrack song, but a good single in its own right? Sadly, it falls short.

Ellie Scott @elliemaryscott

This Week’s Music Video with FKA Twigs, Elbow, Charlie XCX, Afghan Whigs and Sharon Van Etten

Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything Review

The band from Bury have always been an ever-present in the mid background of music for over a decade now with their lyrically strong and non offensive sound that they sometimes stray from. You’d never expect something different from them though and no one does. It has sort of became their trademark now. Perhaps this has become more of a burden now than a trait. I’m not really expecting much from this but you can expect the delivery and lay out of the songs to be of a particular standard but there have already been an array of albums so far this year that have been sublime in this area and have had new, fresh and creative ideas and applications and methods too. Have Elbow came close with their sixth studio album?

’ s much more brash and intimidating than the music and at times quite relatable too, so they certainly have that on their side. ‘New York Morning’ opens in a gentle a slowly rotating fashion with the lead vocal from Garvey easily being the focus. The soft and echoed beat ushers in the acoustic elements to forge the rhythm. The vocals are a great atmospheric tool when they are used collectively and it is the real high point for the song as the repeat, go back and forth and stress harmonies simultaneously. There isn’t much doing in terms of the music. Nothing of much intrigue or originality and no real sense of replicating something with a welcome sense of nostalgia, even if it does the song some good in driving the vocal peak.

The title track generates a natural sounding atmosphere with the gradual riffs being drawn out and the percussion shimmering and glisten alike. The bass lines picks up the rhythm and the song beings to go on to slowly increase in tempo and volume as more sounds arrive and the vocal rises and falls with more of an intensity. While the atmosphere is forged in a painstaking and piece by piece fashion, it  never reaches completion which make you wonder why they went to all the effort to do so as it only leaves you a little detached and disappointed in the end. ‘Charge’ has a gentle and muted organ driving it and slowly nudging it along and this then develops in the typical cascading piano track before neatly fading back into the nudging and soft verses. The strings worked for the dramatic effect too. The snappy, sampled percussion of ‘Colour Fields’ fits in neatly with the echoed and light riff as does Guy’s spacious and accommodating vocal. This simply adds to the wonderful story telling nature of the lyrics. ‘Honey Sun’ operates in s similar fashion and utilises the vocal combinations more readily to good effect. The album is an awkward one. At times too familiar and at others happily taking a different approach with the various combinations entailed. The delivery of the songs is typically spot on and this results in an album that is certainly worth giving a chance.

Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything = 7/10

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This Weeks Music Video. Offerings from Damon Albarn with Everyday Robots, Savages with Strife and Elbow with Fly Boy Blue / Lunette

Single Review – Elbow – Fly Boy Blue / Lunette

The band from Bury have always been an ever-present in the mid background of music for over a decade now with their lyrically strong and non offensive sound that they sometimes stray from. You’d never expect something different from them though and no one does. It has sort of became their trademark now. They recently released the single ‘Fly Boy Blue / Lunette’ as a first look at what will be their sixth studio album with The Take Off and Landing of Everything which is set for a March release. It churns away in the typical acoustic ballad style but is driven in a different direction by Guy Garvey’s vocal and the copy cat vocal behind him that adds weight to an already heavy vocal. The sharp guitar riff does much to instil a sense of urgency in the song. This is amplified as the song grows and adds to it’s sound with the saxophone and the screeching strings before fading away in a subdued and lost manner into a distant vocal that detaches you before ending in a swooning fashion. A simple yet manipulative technique that proves quite effective in terms of the emotive feel of the song. Lyrically it’s much more brash and intimidating than the music and at times quite relatable too, so they certainly have that on their side. Expect a solid album from them, but nothing that will blow you away

http://youtu.be/dELKUivJo4w

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