The Manchester band has gone through a few changes in the past few years. Singer Guy Garvin made the transatlantic move to New York a few years ago before getting married and the band have parted ways with drummer Richard Jupp. The band’s seventh studio release and first since 2014 continues their Oasis meets Coldplay meets Radiohead meets The Doves sound – introspection and a bit melancholy with a touch of the anthemic.
The driving strings and dramatic chorus swells on “Magnificent (She Says)” are a particular highlight in what could almost be a James Bond theme. Underneath a slow burning 80’s style R n B jam there is a great percussive beat that propels “Gentle Storm”. A smart producer will use this at some point and feature a soulful female singer to sing the wonderful “fall in love with me… everyday” line. The poetic and understated guitar make “Head for Supplies” a lovely little tune while “K2” performs a similar feat with more of a drum beat and a political bent to the lyrics.
This is my third Elbow album of the last four and I’m not sure if it’s better than the others but I seem to like it more (a revisit of past work is definitely in order). Songs average just under five minutes each and at times can blend into one another. But there is a beauty in the lyrics that at times reflect the joy in Garvey’s recent marriage to actress Rachael Stirling and the welcoming of their first child earlier this year. “Then my telephone shakes into life and I see your name, the wheat fields explode into gold on either side of the train” This is a strong album for a band this late into their career.