Elbow: Giants of All Sizes (Polydor/Verve Label Group) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Giants of All Sizes

Polydor/Verve Label Group

Oct 11, 2019 Elbow Bookmark and Share

History has shown that Elbow records can be tough nuts to crack and the band’s eighth studio album, Giants of All Sizes, is no exception. But it’s not because the album-oriented rock lacks appeal, it’s because the complex character and stylistic dynamics unfurl over time and are only wholly appreciated after repeated plays.

The lack of a radio-ready track or distinctive single plays into this notion as well, but sublime melodies and ambient textures exist throughout the depths of these songs as Elbow masterfully explore tone and texture within these atmospheric rock songs.

Giants of All Sizes opens in grand fashion as the seven-minute opus “Dexter & Sinister” fades in quickly from an orchestral warm-up to a crackling, hard-driving, and scruffy bass line with buzz saw guitars before expanding to a full band sound complete with searing falsetto vocals. But as Elbow are won’t to do, they shift gears with second track “Seven Veils”; a more subdued track with lilting melodies that resonate with a warm glow. The see-saw effect continues through the album’s nine tracks, seemingly oscillating between loud/rough/fast/dark and soft/gentle/slow/light with the common thread being frontman Guy Garvey’s voice, equally as gruff as it is sublime.

The slower, softer songs“Seven Veils,” “The Delayed 3:15,” “My Trouble,” and “On Deronda Road”are not as structured and tend to be more floating and dreamy and contain the occasional strings that add a touch of melancholy. Other tracks such as “Dexter & Sinister,” “White Noise White Heat,” and “Empires” examine faster rhythms with rougher rock segments. But all are adventurous and engaging with grand vocal arrangements. The cherry on top being final track “Weightless,” a perfect combination of style and grace with slick bass, a floating keyboard line, and echoing, spiraling guitar.

Elbow have proven to be one of the most reliable and entertaining rock bands around and Giants of All Sizes has plenty of spectacular music to make it a 2019 top 10 contender. (www.elbow.co.uk)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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