Elbow – The Takeoff And Landing Of Everything
Elbow have done their level best to alienate their core demographic. Lads. Blokes. Laddish blokes. Happy married couples who once swapped vows to the strains of ‘One Day Like This’. Recently divorced couples who once swapped vows to the strains of ‘One Day Like This’. Unmarried early thirty-somethings who still sing-along to the life-affirming, but ever-so-slightly-ironic anthems of The Seldom Seen Kid. They’re all gone. The previous outing, Build a Rocket Boys!, was enough to put off most of them. It was just so slow. The latest offering will do for the rest. And, like its predecessor, what a great album it is. There’s a point on the first track, ‘This Blue World’, and at about 3.40 to be precise, where they could have changed gear and burst into yet one more life-affirming, but ever-so-slightly-ironic anthem. And, gloriously, they resist the temptation. In fact, they resist it so utterly and completely that there’s nary a one throughout the whole album. Admittedly, there are times when it makes things just a little dull. A little one-paced. ‘Honey Sun’ and ‘My Sad Captain’ are the equivalent of a Sunday afternoon nap in front of the TV. But most of the album is full of great, yet beautifully understated hooks. ‘Charge’ and ‘Fly Boy Blue/Lunette’ both contain wonderfully hummable choruses. The title track picks up the pace and gets into a great, almost stoner-like groove. And there are so many internal rhymes in ‘Real Life (Angel)’ that you can only sit back and wonder. And yet, for the lads, the blokes, the couples, ex-couples, and single-bed singletons who bought The Seldom Seen Kid in their droves it still won’t be enough. This is not the Elbow of a certain age. This a new Elbow. A different Elbow. And more power to them.