Elbow have never really been in any particular hurry to get anywhere. They were a solid mainstay of the British music scene for over a decade before the mainstream really took notice with the release of their 2008 Mercury prize winner “The Seldom Seen Kid”. Since then they’ve continued at their own pace; solid, consistent and loveable.
The Take-Off and Landing of Everything, the bands sixth album, finds them again on very fine, if familiar form. A gently ebbing ocean of lush instrumental textures, glittering around Guy Garvey’s sonorous northern tones. It’s all very lovely; a warm hug of an album, although it is sometimes hard to shake the feeling that the band are treading on old ground.
Tinged with melancholy, slow of pace (not a bad thing), the album could easily be seen as a direct continuation of their 2011 release “Build a Rocket Boys”, leading some to gripe that Elbow are resting on their laurels without really experimenting, but that would be doing a disservice to the quality of the music on offer here.
This time round the band has chosen to split up writing duties, which strangely has led to a more unified sound to the album than previously, with a trippy synth sound oozing around the sparse orchestral back bone.
Led by themes of displacement and migration; a desire for escape permeates the album, particularly on ‘New York Morning’ and the orchestral ‘The Blanket Of Night’, a sweet ode to asylum seekers. The standout track, ‘Charge’, displays a slightly off kilter, almost sinister sound, and finds the band delving into slightly darker territory and something that would be very welcome on any future albums.
So slightly familiar, then, but when Elbow do what they do best there’s no cause for concern. Good work all round.
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