We now interrupt this program, in order to present this special address from Elbow's Australian Ambassador.
Ok, so I'm a bad little boy for having downloaded this a month before its proper release. But thankyou Soulseek people. Anyway, track by track. If you don't want to know the scores, look away now...
Starlings - one of the oddest little opening songs I've ever heard. But a very pretty song once it gets stuck in. Could've renamed this one Startling, because it has a few moments which just jump out at you.
Bones Of You - tremendous, has a measured urgency, propelling itself forward wonderfully. Also serves the purpose of picking up the pace of the record nice and early.
Mirrorball - absolutely gorgeous, I challenge anyone not to love this song. Reminds me of Asleep In The Back era b-sides, even if i can't quite figure out how.
Grounds For Divorce - a tough, bluesy, ballsy song, but with enough of the old Elbow touch to make it memorable. It's the kind of song Elbow needed to write in my honest opinion.
An Audience With the Pope - the first 'weak' song, sort of meanders around for awhile, not going anywhere in particular, but still ok.
Weather To Fly - an odd high vocal, the arrangements are a little awkward for mine, and like the previous song, seems to lack direction.
The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver - Starts off as a nice little waltz, before changing direction midway and then getting suitably big. The percussion reminds me of the Dancer In The Dark soundtrack - which is a good thing by the way!
The Fix - A duet with I'm not sure who, the voices complement each other well. The music has a wonderfully curious/mysterious air about it.
Some Riot - Brambles. But even better. Very interesting arrangement, seriously brought tears to my eyes how well they've executed this song. A song hasn't done that to me that much since Eels' Daisies of the Galaxy record, with its trio of the title track, It's a Motherfucker and Selective Memory.
On A Day Like This - fantastic counterpoint to Some Riot, cheerful and uplifting in the most awesome way.
Friend of Ours - Elbow ease us out with a nice slow song, which gradually swells before retreating gently.
The length of these songs is interesting, it poses problems in some songs, but mostly it works well. Overall, I would say it's the more maudlin parts of Leaders, via Asleep In The Back production wise, all sorts of different sounds in the songs. I love it. I'm not going to say it's a return to form, because Leaders was a good record, but this is a better record, no doubt much more consistent across the board and I just love the sound of it, the way they mix the natural and industrial for want of a better way of putting it. How will people unfamiliar with the band see it? Hard to say. I think it could be the record more than any other of theirs which could break them well and truly.
Best three tracks, Bones of You, Some Riot, Mirrorball.