mon 01/03/2021

CD: Elbow - Little Fictions | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Elbow - Little Fictions

CD: Elbow - Little Fictions

Garvey and co serve up some winter warmth

Elbow fans will remember how 2014's The Take Off and Landing of Everything took the band's existing sound and twisted it a fraction. The result was a piece of work that, above all, felt powerfully uneasy. Not simply because of the personal heartache it expressed but also the impression of an entire world out of kilter. How interesting then that, now half the world feels unsettled, Elbow return with an uplifting album full of heart.

Little Fictions was written around the time of Guy Garvey's marriage, and it's this sense of personal contentment that dominates the album. "You read me like you wrote this book," he sings on "Head for Supplies", and over the sparse piano of "Trust the Sun" he declares, "You're my reason for breathing." Yet, it never sounds soppy. The songs are too subtle and too well constructed; a testament to the band's advanced sense of craftsmanship. 

The album's rhythms, in particular, deserve scrutiny. Drummer Richard Jupp left just before recording began, ending his 25 years with the band. He hasn't yet been replaced but on the album Alex Reeves creates drum textures that are hypnotic and often almost electronic, with hints of hip hop. The effect on songs like "Gentle Storm" is to make them feel almost as chill-out as they are warm.

At the other end of the scale is the unashamedly huge opening number, "Magnificent". Here, sweeping strings give way to an anthemic chorus reminiscent of "One Day Like This". A similar trick is pulled off by "All Disco". Both are great songs. The album's finest moments, though, lie elsewhere. "K2" tackles the subject of Brexit with an electronic vibe and wry lyrics. It's the album's closing song, though, that's the most enduring – "Kindling" is prayer-like and, surely, one of the prettiest tracks they've yet penned. As for the rest of the album, it's hard to say quite where it fits into the Elbow canon. What is certain is that Little Fictions confirms the band as one of rock's most consistent performers


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