Elbow: AUDIO VERTIGO (Polydor/Geffen) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024  




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Rock chameleons Elbow are always looking to push the envelope and explore new directions regardless of genre, as long as the outcome is great music. Their 10th studio album, AUDIO VERTIGO, is no exception. In classic Elbow style, the songs on AUDIO VERTIGO sound unmistakably Elbow, but also like nothing you might expect. Which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from these maverick British alt rockers.

Shifting gears from the gentle and warm disposition of their last album, 2021’s Flying Dream 1, maverick Mercury Prize-winning Elbow have hit the refresh button once again and have circled back to the more energetic and sonically dense styles heard on 2003’s Cast of Thousands and 2005’s Leaders of the Free World, but with a definite slant towards funkier grooves. And while there’s nothing really groundbreaking, it’s excellent nonetheless; a testament to the band’s gifted musicianship, capable songwriting, and mindset to create something special.

Perhaps the most striking difference on AUDIO VERTIGO is the inclusion of horns on the album’s first two singles, “Lovers’ Leap” and “Balu.” The skittering horn-loop beat on the former makes the song an instant earworm classic, while the horns on the latter add a little spice to the big synth groove. Along with the jumpy, spiraling melody and prog-like time changes of “The Picture” and the playful—think early Eno/Talking Heads—vibe on “Her to the Earth,” they make up the album’s best tracks. Elsewhere, the edgy and bouncy rhythms and clanging guitar chords of album opener “Things I’ve Been Telling Myself For Years,” “Very Heaven,” and “Good Blood Mexico City” set the stage for the rest of the album with their subtly shifting waves of creative melodies and tuneful guitar riffs. The inclusion of syncopated bass lines, electronic beats, and swirling sound effects create a sound that is both refreshingly unfamiliar yet fabulously Elbow.

Of course comparisons to Peter Gabriel are unavoidable when listening to Elbow. Frontman Guy Garvey’s voice is as equally as gruff and sublime as Gabriel’s and musically Elbow explore tone and texture with the same dynamics as the best bands from the prog rock era. Although AUDIO VERTIGO may not be their finest work, the richly layered album-oriented rock is stacked with shrewd melodies and it’s nice to see Elbow stepping outside their comfort zone and reaching back a bit to reconnect with their daring and adventurous ways. (www.elbow.co.uk)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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