10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Elbow Delivers Once Again!,
This review is from: The Take Off And Landing Of Everything [+digital booklet] (MP3 Music)
Elbow is one of my favorite bands. I've been listening to their music for a few years. I first started listening to them through hearing the critically acclaimed and anthem driven The Seldom Seen Kid. This is still one of my favorite albums! I decided to look through their past music and I loved what I found! Each album has a unique craft and complexity as well as being different from one another. Their wonderful musical arrangements can be ominous, dark, elusive and uplifting. Each album explores new territory and experiments with sounds. The band is not afraid to try new things. And that's what I love about them. They never repeat themselves. What makes Elbow work is their singer, Guy Garvey. He is such a down to earth and sincere man through watching his interviews, listening to his radio show and listening to his deep, introspective lyrics. His words are full of rich imagery and convey any kind of emotion. His lyrics give you a look into his perspective and how he views the world. It's such a pleasure to hear him croon and sing of love, friendship and just simply, life! Guy's voice and Elbow's music cannot be found anywhere else but in Elbow! So many groups sound so similar or sound like they're following a trend. But not Elbow. Sure, they pulled from variety of influences. However, Elbow's music is their own.
After the release of The Seldom Seen Kid, Elbow released their then highly anticipated album, Build a Rocket Boys! I must admit, though it was a lovely album, it did not meet my expectations. I thought Elbow would continue and develop on what they did with Seldom Seen Kid. So I was disappointed not to hear the dark musical landscape I heard before. However, over time I realized that Elbow has become much more comfortable in their skins. They feel freer to explore new territory and play with sounds, albeit still retaining some trademark Elbow features such as the use of a choir. Still, I found it hard to listen to Build a Rocket Boys! in full. I only really liked listening to a few songs from that album. The magic of Seldom Seen Kid was that it was much more of a cohesive effort. The songs flowed better in my opinion and weren't scattered[Scattered Black and Whites-no pun intended ;)] Seldom Seen had a particular charm about it. But I guess that's what makes it special. It cannot be replicated. Build a Rocket Boys! didn't have the same kind of momentum to keep you interested for too long. But I know that Elbow has purpose in what they make. The band had a specific vision for the album and that can't be messed with. So I was really curious as to what they would come up with next.
So...The Take Off and Landing of Everything. My, what a beautiful album! Once again, Elbow seriously did not meet my expectations! But this time, it's a positive thing! This album is so much more satisfying than Build a Rocket Boys! in terms of musical arrangements and lyrics. Again, this is just my opinion. The first track is delicate and apparently is about Guy's break up with his long term girlfriend, which happened during the making of this album. I think this event was a key factor in creating this albums darker tone. A lovely opener! But this first track still worried me in what would come next. Next track..."Charge". Now this was the track that suddenly sparked my attention! It wasn't the Elbow I heard before. It has an ominous keyboard that hums a simple yet haunting melody. This is a complex tune! Great work Elbow! After listening to the album, this was one of my favorite tracks! Beautiful use of bluesy guitar and string section! The chorus harkens back to what Elbow does best. The next track is upbeat and interesting. It's a combination of two songs. The first part continues the dark tone of the previous track. Another bluesy track! Wonderful guitar work. In some sections of the song, there is a brooding brass section, reminiscent of the music by Canadian band Timber Timbre. This was well done. The dynamic and chromatic changes really helped with this track. The second part of the song is in a major key and lightens the mood a bit with a great bass line. This is also one of my favorite tracks off this album. "New York Morning" is obviously influenced by Guy Garvey's stay in NYC. In interviews, Guy stated that the album is also built around the idea of trans-Atlantic travel and being in New York. This track has wonderful percussion work. It also sounds like it could have been included in Build a Rocket Boys! but it actually is better that it's here. It allows the album to be much more diverse in sound. "Real Life" is another great track. Not much to say about it. It's uplifting yet delicate. Just lovely! I think at this point I have overused some adjectives, but what else can I say about this music! I can stress it enough! "Honey Sun" was another attention grabber. A bluesy track with some great electronic work! Elbow hasn't really done anything like this before. The track features some fantastic backing grooves and vocals. It retains some of the essence heard in Seldom Seen Kid. The chorus changes to a major key, which you don't expect! This is a really good thing! Elbow plays with you here by creating some complex musical tension. This is also one of my favorites here! "My Sad Captains" is such a touching song. Beautiful use of a brass section and percussion. Actually everything about this track gives me the goose bumps. It has a sad, yet optimistic feel about it. Another favorite track...might as well say the entire album is my favorite! The last 3 tracks are great as well.
Overall, this is a fantastic album! It's much more complex and interesting than Build a Rocket Boys! Maybe not as good as Seldom Seen Kid. But it's a great album on it's own. One of best this year! The music is sort of a combination of all their albums. It has sounds similar to the dark Asleep in the Back, the dynamic power of Cast and Seldom Seen Kid. It also has some of the uplifting moods found in Build a Rocket Boys! You will not be disappointed with this album! I'd recommend it to anyone. Elbow's music is the kind that cannot be easily digested and forgotten. It's the kind of music that leaves you laying on your back, starring at complexions of the world and reflecting on yourself and life as you're immersed in an emotional and musical landscape that's hard to turn off. These fellows are a real gem in today's music industry, where many other bands have no distinct identity. Elbow is a very talented band and more people need to have a chance to listen to them.