BERLIN (DPA) – Guy Garvey is actually known to be a particularly sociable, sociable person – and he sparred more on an album by his band Elbow, which was released two years earlier.
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The sympathetic singer and songwriter worked her way through Brexit, with “Giants of All Size”, the eighth studio work from Manchester’s Stadium Rockers. His heart was “wounded”, said the ardent pro-European at the time. Now a new change of mood is unmistakable in Garvey’s music.
Anger over politics is followed by a quiet, personal gratitude expressed in the most heavenly tunes. The massive CinemaScope production of the earlier albums, which regularly reached the top of the charts on the island, was replaced by “Flying Dream 1”, an airy, almost full-bodied album with lots of piano, double bass, brass and strings. There was a jazzy sound.
This time the typical elbow hymns have become so short that it is best to put on headphones to enjoy all the subtleties of this unusual, surprising sound. And Garvey sings – for example in the title track or in “Six Words”, “Come On, Blue” or the spectacular “What Am I Without You”, a song for his family – like never before. He has long outlived the honorable, but somewhat annoying, Peter-Gabriel comparison.
“The Seldom Seen Kid”, the first single release from that year, was named after the album that earned Elbow a coveted Mercury Award, triple platinum, and a huge success in 2008. No coincidence – both times the title refers to a close friend of the band, musician Brian Glancey, who died in 2006. It’s hard to imagine a better obituary than this ethereal lyrical gem, the video of which was filmed in an old theatre, in Brighton.
Garvey (47) emphasizes that he has long liked quiet, complex records in regards to the classification of “Flying Dream 1” in the band’s 30-year history. And they set the bar very high, citing legendary final works of Talk Talk, Scottish melancholics The Blue Nile, Kate Bush or Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” as role models.
Anyway: their effort to “focus on the softer side of the elbow sound” has now graced this well-deserved Brittrock troupe’s greatest album ever. There is a lot of power in rest.
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