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ELBOW

Elbow

Giants Of All Sizes

    ‘Giants of All Sizes’ was recorded at Hamburg’s Clouds Hill Studio, The Dairy in Brixton, 604 Studios in Vancouver and Blueprint Studios in Salford with additional recording taking place at various band member’s home studios spread across Manchester. As with their previous four studio albums, ‘Giants’ was produced and mixed by Craig Potter. Guests across the album include Jesca Hoop, The Plumedores and South London newcomer Chilli Chilton.

    Guy Garvey describes the album as “an angry, old blue lament which finds its salvation in family, friends, the band and new life.” It is a record that lyrically takes in moments of deep personal loss whilst reflecting its times by confronting head-on the spectres of injustice and division not just in the UK but across the world. It is a record that could only have been made in the 21st Century.

    Given such bleak, if ultimately redeemed, subject matter, it is also, perversely, the most relaxed record which elbow have made in some time. On ‘Giants of All Sizes’, each band member extended their usual process of working on demos alone and followed their vision to its conclusion rather than, as Craig Potter puts it, ‘taking the edges off things to find compromise’. In tandem with this, they returned to playing live in the studio, encouraged to experiment with the banks of analogue equipment at Clouds Hill in Northern Germany, giving songs a looser, more live feel.

    The result is the most starkly dynamic record from the band in recent times, “Sonically unabashed”, as Guy would have it. Whilst album closer ‘Weightless’ has the gossamer melodies and communal harmonies for which the band have latterly been known, this album echoes earlier elbow work at times whilst also breaking new ground.

    ‘White Noise White Heat’ is motorik, metal machine soul driven by a vocal that is rage incarnate, ‘Doldrums’ mixes John Carpenter with The Plastic Ono Band to brilliantly disturbing effect and ‘On Deronda Road’ hitches stark bass beats and glitches to an ad-hoc choir. ‘Empires’ delivers dark resignation via an insidious melody and ‘Seven Veils’ continues the subversion by inverting the perception of elbow as a band for lovers into a band for haters, a double-barrelled fuck-you song par excellence. ‘The Delayed 3:15’ marries mariarchi guitars to jazz dynamics, Morricone via Buddy Rich, and ‘My Trouble’ is a clockwork, analogue shuffle housing a delicate melody that builds over the course of the song into a fragile monolith to the power of love.

    Lead track, ‘Dexter & Sinister’, released on 10” ahead of the album, encapsulates the whole. A seven-minute musical journey that blends deep bass grooves, sudden keyboard stabs, dislocated piano and guitar runs and soul stylings then abruptly shifts gear, parts the storm clouds and takes wing, flying towards the heat of the sun. It is the soundtrack for these ‘hope free, faith free, charity free days’, a denial of the divine and a reconciliation, two songs in one song, two emotions for one emotion, human, fragile and brilliant like the album which it opens.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Deluxe CD Info: An exclusive CD that has a hard clear plastic O-card sleeve on it, which when pulled off will leave the CD artwork bare of text.

    Ltd CD Info: Limited 1 continuous track, "don't skip" edition.

    Elbow

    Dexter & Sinister

      Elbow return with new track 'Dexter & Sinister', released as a limited edition one-sided 10" single and featuring the vocals of Jesca Hoop, with a lyric etching on the b-side.

      An exact seven minutes of new music melding ominous, creeping grooves and deity-denying lyrics that burst into a sweeping second phase of lament and redemption. 

      Elbow

      The Best Of - Deluxe Edition

        Elbow release a handpicked collection of their best moments to date. The album features tracks from all the band's seven studio albums to date and highlights their incredible musical output over the last eighteen years from the release of the Newborn EP in 1999. Also featured on the album as a bonus track is the band's version of The Beatles 'Golden Slumbers', as heard on the John Lewis Christmas advert directed by Michel Gondry.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        3xLtd LP Info: Triple heavyweight vinyl, double gatefold, download card included.

        ‘Little Fictions’ was recorded in Scotland and Manchester and sees the band collaborate with the string players of The Hallé Orchestra, the Hallé Ancoats Community Choir, members of London Contemporary Voices and session drummer Alex Reeves. As with the previous three elbow albums it was produced by Craig Potter.

        ‘Little Fictions’ is emphatically a band album. Having written individually for its chart-topping predecessor, ‘The Take Off and Landing of Everything’, sessions this time were collective affairs, with all four members gathered initially in a house in Scotland before moving to Guy’s attic in Prestwich and finalising recordings in the familiar setting of Blueprint studios, Salford.

        ‘Little Fictions’ is an upbeat album. All the band talk of the sessions being ‘joyful’, Mark summarises it as ‘the sound of four people who love what they do and each other’, of an album that came into being naturally and, at times even unconsciously. Lead single ‘Magnificent (She Says)’ was embraced for the joyous, thrilling piece of music it is, positive and outward looking. Mark never even considered his audible switch towards electric guitars, most notable on the psychedelic lushness of ‘All Disco’, until the very end of the process.

        The departure of drummer Richard Jupp prior to commencing the writing and recording process in earnest saw early sessions characterised by new approaches to rhythm, with the band utilising percussive noises, sampling and loops to build tracks. The grooves that run through much of the album, from the go-go beats of ‘Gentle Storm’ through the jagged trip hop of ‘Kindling’ to the soulful ‘Firebrand & Angel’ represent both the band’s widest musical palette and a newfound sense of experimentation borne from both necessity and desire. That desire fuelled the title track, an eight minute piece that is epic without at any point feeling excessive. As a shorthand for the album it is perfect, crossing musical genres and experimenting with sound in ways that demonstrate the confidence and enthusiasm of the band throughout the recording process.

        ‘Little Fictions’ is, therefore, more than just yet another brilliant elbow album. In many ways it marks the start of a new chapter for the band, characterised by a rediscovery of shared purpose in doing the thing that has always brought them together, the place that Mark describes as ‘the creative space where we all meet’.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP Info: 180 gram gatefold album with download code.

        Elbow

        The Take Off And Landing Of Everything

        ‘The Take Off and Landing of Everything’ was recorded in Real World Studios and at the band’s facilities at Blueprint Studios, Salford. As with previous albums, the million selling ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ and platinum follow up ‘build a rocket boys!’ it was produced by the band’s keyboardist Craig Potter. The making of ‘The Take Off and Landing of Everything’ saw the band take a new approach to writing and recording. Previously songs were mostly developed by the band as a whole but this new album sees individual members and subgroups take the lead on several tracks.

        ‘Honey Sun’ was written and recorded at home by guitarist Mark Potter, his brother Craig wrote the music for ‘Real Life (Angel)’ and bassist Pete Turner built ‘Colour Fields’ using apps on his iPad. The first track to be heard from the album, ‘Fly Boy Blue / Lunette’ was developed by drummer Richard Jupp alongside Pete and Mark whilst both Guy and Craig were away from the studio.

        The album features several guests including the Hallé Orchestra (‘Manchester’s oldest band’ as Guy affectionately calls them) with Pete McPhail, Tim Barber, Bob Marsh and Kat Curlett adding brass to selected tracks and tour mate and long term friend Jimi Goodwin of Doves adding backing vocals on ‘New York Morning’.

        Despite the changes in approach musically and lyrically ‘The Take Off and Landing of Everything’ contains many familiar elements for fans of the band. Early taster ‘Fly Boy Blue / Lunette’ harks back to debut single ‘Newborn’ in its step change melody and rhythmic shift mid song whilst ‘New York Morning’, the first single proper from the album, carries at its centre the type of life affirming refrain that run through elbow songs from ‘Scattered Black and Whites’ from their debut to ‘Open Arms’ from ‘build a rocket boys!’.

        Sharp eyed elbow watchers will also note the presence of ‘Charge’, which was performed live during the band’s last run of UK arena shows during the ‘build a rocket boys!’ campaign in December 2012. The song demonstrates that elbow retain an ability to deliver the darker side of human nature that echoes the likes of ‘Little Beast’ and ‘I’ve Got Your Number’ from earlier albums.

        Familiar themes return, the welcoming of old friends, the mourning of past loves and, as Guy would say ‘some of the big and little, positive and negative, life experiences that any group of men approaching forty can expect’.

        Following the long awaited and well deserved success of their previous album "The Seldom Seen Kid", Elbow make a much anticipated return.

        "Build A Rocket Boys!" features guest contributions from the Halle Youth Choir, retaining Elbow’s strong links with both their home town and the Halle itself, with whom they collaborated on a very special show at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall in 2009.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xLtd LP Info: Deluxe double vinyl in a gatefold sleeve.

        Elbow

        The Seldom Seen Kid

          Their fourth studio album, "The Seldom Seen Kid" is a welcome return from the band, driven by a thunderous riff that reminds listeners of Elbow's love of the heavy as well as the delicate. Produced by keyboard player, Craig Potter, the album is the follow up to 2005's universally acclaimed "Leaders Of The Free World". The lyrical core of "The Seldom Seen Kid" sees Guy Garvey address the key questions of life. Over the 11 tracks the big themes of love and loss become the central focus of an album that sees Elbow, a band universally recognised for their musical ability and innovation, stretch their sonic template further than ever before. We move from the sparse electronica of "Starlings" through the flamenco influenced "The Bones Of You" to the Zeppelin-esque rock of first single "Grounds For Divorce". They even make space for a song described as " a Bond theme, if Bond were from Bury"(!) and a duet with the brilliant Richard Hawley. Blending the intimate with the epic, this could be their best record yet!

          Elbow

          Cast Of Thousands

          So everyone's saying Elbow are happier now? Don't worry this is still heavy and atmospheric, but it's somehow more liberating, less cloying, than their debut album. Sure, there's the creepily sinister "I've Got Your Number" and they still have a proggy bent, like Radiohead but with ace songs. But there's jazzy vibes, lovely electronica and in "Switching Off" they have another mega slowie. There's mad percussion, gospel choirs, beautiful poetry: all so introspective yet somehow anthemic. Sadness that makes you feel 10 foot tall? Now that's wonderful. And weird! Best of all is "Grace Under Pressure", so awe inspiring it sounds like a hymn. It ends with the crowd at Glastonbury chanting 'we still believe in love so fuck you!'. It's the best thing they've ever done. And the album's at least matched its incredible predecessor. Perhaps even surpassed. There's plenty of unravelling and bewitching to be getting on with here. We'll know by Xmas!!!

          Elbow

          Leaders Of The Free World

            'Leaders of the Free World', Elbow's third album, sees the band try to beat down their major league contemporaries with a more ambitious set of songs. The results are impressive and may form the band's best work yet. Beginning with the beautiful, slow-building "Station Approach", and ending with the short but touching "Puncture Repair", 'Leaders of the Free World' takes in an a host of minor classics along the way including the captivating title track. The album is the result of a collaborative projecy between the band and film-makers, the Soup Collective.


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