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Elbow, The Take Off And Landing Of Everything (Concord Records)
Cd reviews February 20,2014

02/20/14
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



 Habitual Mercury Prize nominees since 2001, this properly repressed, down-to-earth lot are masters of pub-chill, their collective finger on the pulse of daily Brit life, resembling a genial U2 (whom they’ve always loved) for cubicle stiffs. I’m a sucker for voices like Guy Garvey’s, his weary but enthusiastic baritone a cross between Joe Cocker, VNV Nation’s Ronan Harris, and Wire’s second-banana Graham Lewis. In the past, he’s sung of everyday prejudices, like the irrational fear of kids in hoodies, but in this LP he explores a personal conundrum, that being his breakup with his longtime girlfriend, journalist Emma Jane Unsworth. Decorated with lightly flitting arpeggios over slow, snowy percussion, opening track “This Blue World” focuses a kinder eye on those derelict feelings, while follow-up “Charge” is more funereal, what with its morose keyboards/orchestra/acoustic piano. The wow factor comes at “Fly Boy Blue + Lunette,” wherein Garvey tables a bizarre double-tracked vocal that could easily be mistaken for a vocoder while stun-guitar matches jazz-fused symphonics note-for-note.  The gently bouncing “New York Morning” turns the album’s frown upside down, with Garvey marveling at his newfound second home in Brooklyn. Classy, brilliant, innovative, heartfelt. A+ — Eric W. Saeger






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