Jan 30, 2017 Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary
Find It At: AMAZON
Guy Garvey and his bandmates in Elbow are, at this point, the U.K.'s most consistent elder statesmen of "old-school" alt-rock. Their seventh studio full-length album, Little Fictions, somehow manages to imbue the elegant, refined beauty of their oeuvre with new flavor and creativity even while giving fans exactly what they have come to expect from Elbow over the years. There's the thoughtful deliberateness of Build a Rocket Boys!, the ambitious sentimentality of The Take Off and Landing of Everything, and the compositional creativity of The Seldom Seen Kid, capped by some of Garvey's most confident and beautiful vocals yet.
Lead single and opening track, "Magnificent (She Says)," is a lively, strings-laden affair and a perfect song to set the scene for the colorful, optimistic album ahead. Garvey's simple-yet-effective lyricism in this song and throughout the tracklist suggest awe and appreciation for the future-feelings that are quite rare in our current troubled world. The tastefully simple "Gentle Storm" is a love ballad consisting only of percussion, spare keyboard chords, and Garvey's soaring tenor. Really, his voice alone sounds better and, perhaps due to the release of his excellent solo debut in 2015, more confident than ever. "Head for Supplies" might be the band's most arrestingly pretty song of the last few years at least.
Meanwhile, several tracks have a new focus on texture and groove. The percussion on songs like "Trust the Sun," "K2," and the epic "Little Fictions" seem designed to mimic techno and other electronic forms via organic instruments. This is most likely due to the appearance of session drummer Alex Reeves; regular drummer Richard Jupp amicably departed earlier in 2016, before recording began. Still, compositionally Elbow sounds more refreshed than they have since The Seldom Seen Kid, and hopefully Little Fictions is a signal of the beginning of a new creative phase. (www.elbow.co.uk)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10
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