Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything

Elbow - The Take Off and Landing of Everything (2014)

Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything (2014)

So this is sad bastard music. It isn’t, however, sad bastard music that hasn’t paid its dues. From the first track, you can tell these guys are veterans: they’ve got the balls to open with a 7+ minute pseudo-lullaby, and the skills for it to work. Rather than hooking you, it pulls you in like the tide — not violent, but inevitable. “The Blanket of Night” does something similar, using the space between notes to great effect — the silence between a bass note and a drum hit is so total that you hold your breath in wait. Sitting at the other end of the album, it’s much shorter and more minimal, managing to cover just as much ground with bass, drum, and some spacey synths backing Garvey’s voice.

If “This Blue World” was a statement of style, then “Charge” is the thesis backing it up:

“And glory be, these fookers are ignoring me
I’m from another century.”

The only person I’ve ever heard use the phrase “glory be” unironically is my 86-year-old grandmother. You can see Guy Garvey in your mind’s eye, earnestly singing some old ballad down at the pub. He would, however, seem out of place at the rock club, “propping up a young bar” — despite his influence on that scene. It’s a reminder that these guys deserve your respect.

My instinct is to liken Elbow to a brit-pop version of Wilco. I’d say “dad-rock”, with the caveat that all dads were once 20-year-old dudes, who have “broken jaws” and “designed that little mystery on your tongue.” That dude is still in there somewhere, looking for the respect he’s due. It’s rock with experience, maturity even. The edges get a little softer, but the energy is still there, and it’s backed up with know-how.

Which leads me to the other thing this album’s got: range. Garvey’s voice has some serious range, both dynamically and register-wise. He’s not afraid to whisper or growl, croon in a falsetto or sink to that deep baritone sweet spot. His voice has a kind of gentle sweetness, which makes his occasional forays into gruffness even more aggressive by comparison. The music itself is almost cinematic, taking its time to build tension with slow-burning chord progressions and melodies that lead to huge crescendos.

Most of the tracks clock in at over five minutes, allowing that style some space to play around with. “My Sad Captains” is one of these lush songs, featuring a gorgeous brass solo. “What a perfect waste of time,” Garvey croons in the chorus, and it certainly feels that way — almost like sitting aimlessly and watching the rain. It may be a waste of time, but it sure is beautiful, and maybe that’s enough.

The Take Off and Landing of Everything Tracklist:

01 – This Blue World
02 – Charge
03 – Fly Boy Blue Lunette
04 – New York Morning
05 – Real Life (Angel)
06 – Honey Sun
07 – My Sad Captains
08 – Colour Fields
09 – The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
10 – The Blanket Of Night

Elbow - The Take Off and Landing of Everything, reviewed by Caroline Mills on 2014-06-17T03:13:28-07:00 rating 3.8 out of 5

Comments are closed.