Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Elbow



Now presenting...the greatest rock band you've never heard of. My friend introduced me to these guys around 2 years ago. This is a guy who once told me that maybe he didn't so much like music as "misery, in a song." Fair enough, talking about Elbow, if you're simply looking for radio pop. Please, if you can't deal with melancholy, stop right here and go buy the second Coldplay CD. Those guys try REAL hard.

Elbow is fantastic. Brilliant. Unfortunately, their website is not. If you want to listen to clips from their latest album, go here. Elbow's first album, Asleep in the Back, was basically a greatest hits of their first 10 years as a band. They spent plenty of time refining their craft and compiled a great group of songs...but if you've ever listened to a greatest hits CD, you know they often come off a little disjointed. Coming around for a second dose thanks to the wonderful (and fairly underground in the U.S.) reception to their first album, Elbow has produced an absolute masterpiece.

The first track, Ribcage, is an excellent song...until the chorus chimes in with

And then the sunshine
Throwin' me a lifeline
Finds its way into my room
All I need is you
...then the song takes it to another level, one that we may not have descriptors for yet. At this precise moment, you should know that you are experiencing greatness. The album doesn't let down from there. The songs were written in a "pressure cooker", so they have a coherency and unity unlike the first album, yet each song retains its own uniqueness. There's not a "skip over me" song anywhere in sight.
Guy Garvey is sufficiently disinterested in bringing the listener any particular highs with his vocals. He's more than content to hold you in his world, in which he reacts maturely to real life disappointments and finds a way to get up and put his pants on, one leg at a time, the next day. The rest of the band is full of the same sort of business, with the exception of the occasional full-band instrumental version of a scream, which defies logic but grows on you after about the 10th listen. The variety of background instrumentation is excellent and worthy of your attention, meaning you have to sit down with this CD in a quiet room or on headphones.
John Cusack always talked about his "desert island top-5" records in High Fidelity. This album is a different kind of desert island CD. If you're stuck on a desert island, at least it will keep you from going crazy while you're waiting to die. In a lot of ways, these guys are waiting right there with you, but they don't let it get to them. Do whatever you can to get this CD. The next time you're in a lousy situation, spend it with the guys from Elbow. They'll go get a pint with you and help you forget about your troubles.
~MTB Posted by Hello

6 Comments:

Blogger Lind - Z said...

Although my exposure to Elbow is still fairly minimal, I will state that they are intellectually stimulating in a tight-rope-walking kind of way. They keep you on edge. However, the bone-chilling sequence of loud moans/screams in one of their songs is enough to make me want to jump right out of my skin. I am sure that this was strategical to some extent but I must say that I don't think I will ever be listening to that in the dark by myself. It reminds me a lot of death (sorry if that sounds morbid). Or, it is possible that I am just a wimp.

October 15, 2004 at 9:34 AM  
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Hallo! ;)
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what do you think about it?

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