Elbow - Leaders Of The Free World

The commanding and trouble voiced Guy Garvey leads a meditative and reflect feel to this third album from the wistful Mancunians Elbow. Rookie album ‘Asleep In The Back’ and the well produced and multi sounding ‘Cast Of Thousands’ are built upon and developed to produce thought provoking and tingling melodies. This is borne out in the romance spirited five minute plus; ‘Forget Myself’ and the rat race defying bubble pop number ‘Leaders Of The Free World’.

Guy Garvey’s mundanely poetic lyrical prowess is at its most blatant and reflective in ‘Great Expectations’;

“And if it rains all day
 Call on you I’ll call on you
 Like I used to
 Slide down the window and wrap you in stories.’

This quintet is battle hardened after their lengthy struggle to become established and get ‘Asleep in the Back’ out into the public domain. There is no complacency in this offering only soulful sincerity, as they cling on to their principles, belief and melodies with the intensity of a shipwrecked mariner clinging onto a plank of wood. With most of the tracks crashing through the four minute barrier, these guys build up emotion better than Harper Lee. A slow and almost blues feel punctuates the points made about the tricks your mind plays on you in the soothing yet sombre; ‘An Imagined Affair’.

The enchanting instrumentals on ‘The Everthere’ provide a cloud for Garvey’s Chris Martin meets Art Garfunkel vocals to float away on. The song title has autobiographic implications, as Elbow just seem to build and build, as they ooze sincerity and melody; mingling to two together to make an intoxicating mix of strangely invigorating and at times, contemplative music.

David Adair

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