9 January 2013

Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid




There are band that just seem to be going nowhere.  Elbow were once a band like this.  The press loved them, as did their fans (but that one is a given) - however, no matter what they did they could not get noticed.  If they had have tried to do a career in crime, they would have been successful at that point as they could have gotten in an out of places with no-one noticing. The band have admitted when they recorded this album, it was their last chance at the dice, it was their last drink of the saloon, the final hand in a card game when they had gone all in.  All or nothing for them at this point and boy did it pay off.

This was a monster of an album when it came out, but it took a long time to get going. It was such a slow burner, that it seems to match their musical life to that point, not seemed to notice it but it was there.  I have to admit I was part of the general public who did not really care one way or another.  They were ok, but nothing I was going out of my way to listen to or find out more about.  Who needed another band from the North West of the UK in their lives?

This album is a very gentle album.  The most urgent track of the whole album is "Grounds For Divorce" - which is a stomp of a song in their catalogue. Also you have the majestic "Friend of Ours", the building (yet quite) opener in "Starlings", "One Day Like This" was used at the 2012 Olympics to great effect which got it back in the charts. It is a very pleasant album that is not trying to hurry you along or make you feel anyway more than comfortable.

If anything, maybe it is a bit too well crafted.  I guess this is because the stakes were high here and they had to put everything on the number 4. Some would say why did they not do this earlier, some would say they have been building towards this moment and it would not have happened sooner.  Personally as much as I like this album and for all its brilliant moments, I do find myself forgetting some of the song. Every time I hear "An Audience With The Pope" or "Some Riot" it is like hearing a new song each time as I have forgotten the original (and subsequent) encounters.  Also, the overall slow plod of the album makes me sleepy at times. Is this a good thing, not too sure but it does make it a struggle towards the end of the album.

So, for this the praises came in, mercury music prizes, arena headline tours, faces across the press and other such things that come from a successful album. I would still struggle to name any of them from an identity parade, so a career in crime is still there if they want it. If they can keep up this momentum (and I will review their follow up at some point) it will be interesting to see where they go.  But at the end of the day, they beat the house and cleaned up - sometimes the underdog does get the rewards.


7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

You can purchase from here

You can listen to the album on Spotify on here

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