Welcome to Spilken Selects! In this weekly series I’ll post a short review about something I really enjoy with the hope that maybe you will too. No subject will be off limits. If it’s a product, and you buy it from my link, I get a small kickback. Cool? Cool. PS all album links in this post are to Amazon, all songs to iTunes.
Elbow is a band that can easily be labeled as “consistent.” I would add to that “great” as in, consistently great. Their new album, Little Fictions, continues their tradition of releasing engaging, atmospheric, and fantastic rock albums.
Elbow’s sound is typically moody, but Little Fictions borders on joyous. Buoyed by strong melodies and ebullient percussion, songs like the lead off “Magnificent (She Says)” and “Firebrand & Angel” draw you in and keep the record moving forward. To me the standout track is “K2”, where they go in on Brexit with characteristic verve. The album isn’t without its more contemplative tracks as well, with songs like “All Disco” digging into the meanings behind our actions. Why do anything anyway?
As always, Guy Garvey’s vocals are delivered in his unique gruff/soaring “Peter Gabriel by way of Manchester” way while the band is driven by the interplay between the drums and spacious melodic elements. The production on these albums is fantastic; every Elbow album sounds awesome and Little Fictions is no exception.
This brings me to the parentheses part of this posts title. Elbow records in general, from their 2002 debut Asleep in the Back to 2014’s The Take Off and Landing of Everything are all worth listening to. They share a similar sound; you can’t have a voice like Garvey’s be anything outside of what it is, but the songwriting on display is, as mentioned previously, consistently great. I get choked up listening to “Fly Boy Blue/Lunette” from TTOALOE, and songs like “Grounds for Divorce” and “Mexican Standoff” just rock, for lack of a better description.
Another thing I love about Elbow is that their politically leaning songs are effective and cutting. I mentioned K2 already, but a favorite of mine (That just so happens to be perfect for these insane times)? “The Fix” from 2009’s Mercury Prize Winning The Seldom Seen Kid Here’s a live video of them performing it with album collaborator Richard Hawley:
So good. Too good.
So yeah, buy/stream Little Fictions and dive into Elbow. If you like rock and roll you’ll be glad you did. Already a fan? Want to know more? Hit me in the comments!