Music | Album Review – Elbow

The Take Off and Landing of Everything

There are a number of ways to describe everyday routine: through the wry, satirical wit of Arctic Monkeys and The Streets, or through the emotive celebration of Elbow, whose music makes even nipping to Sainsbury’s for milk seem like a momentous, tear-inducing occasion. On The Take Off and Landing of Everything, Elbow lose none of this epic charm.

While it lacks the verve and immediacy of The Seldom Seen Kid, which contained moments of sporadic ecstasy, Elbow’s sixth album is more of a melodic lullaby. The highlight is stunning ballad ‘My Sad Captains’, a paean to old mates and carefree moments. Crashing guitars echo out of the distant past, a sense of nostalgia accompanied by regal trumpets: “What a perfect waste of time” sings frontman Guy Garvey.

The strength of this record is in the power of the songwriting, at once both intensely personal and entirely relatable. You could imagine discussing a ‘New York Morning’ with Garvey over a pint of ale down your local: he ruffling his tousled beard while imparting fatherly wisdom upon our grateful ears in that gruff Mancunian accent: “The way the day begins decides the shade of everything / But the way it ends depends on if you’re home.”

It may be titled The Take Off and Landing of Everything, but Elbow’s consistency has resisted the theory that ‘what goes up, must come down’. They’re not doing anything particularly new – they’re the last band on Earth you would expect to pull a Kid A – but when these rousing, hands-in-the air anthems sound this great, why would they?

Nick Suarez

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