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226 of 243 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life's big issues by one of the best bands around.
Rumoured to be Elbow's last new album in the traditional sense of the word (the band have hinted that future releases may be in the form of EP's / singles only) they return here with what can only be described as a beautiful, masterful, heartbreakingly delicate collection of simply brilliant songs.

It's an album on which Guy Garvey, lead singer and lyricist,...
Published on 22 Feb 2008 by Mr. D. J. Brindle

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing
Dissapointing for me. Having heard the hype about Elbow I thought I would buy it but was not particularly impressed. Songs sound very similar. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed a few of the songs but I won't be rushing to play it again in the near future.
However if that is what you like then go for it. Under delivered for me.
Published 2 months ago by jeremy connolly


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226 of 243 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life's big issues by one of the best bands around., 22 Feb 2008
By 
Mr. D. J. Brindle (Prestwick, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Rumoured to be Elbow's last new album in the traditional sense of the word (the band have hinted that future releases may be in the form of EP's / singles only) they return here with what can only be described as a beautiful, masterful, heartbreakingly delicate collection of simply brilliant songs.

It's an album on which Guy Garvey, lead singer and lyricist, seeks to address the big issues of life, love and loss and the resulting collection of songs is perhaps Elbow's finest to date.

"Starlings" starts the album off with aplomb, a hushed harmonised intro of vocals, glockenspiel and piano giving way to a huge burst of horns before Guy Garvey begins his vocal. Garvey has the sort of voice that could sing the entire telephone book to you and you'd still find it deep, and meaningful and melancholically beautiful.

"Bones Of You" with it's flamenco influences, details lyrically that moment whereby you're rushing around a town centre when suddenly you catch a few bars of a song you last hear when you were happy, and somewhere else, and it blasts you back to that time. And back to the love you felt then; "And I'm five years ago/and three thousand miles away". Musically it's quite a commercial and accessible song, like a few on the album. And there's a bitter lyrical under taste in the fact that it becomes apparent that the singer of the song has been lying to himself to a greater or lesser extent, all these years. Brilliant stuff.

Mirrorball is a typically stunning and beautiful Elbow ballad; "Dawn gives me a shadow I know to be taller. All down to you. Everything has changed." over acoustic drums and semi-whispered, right in your ear and head vocals. Gorgeous strings too. Stirring and yet romantic.

Grounds For Divorce, a track many of you have probably heard by now, or at the least seen the country and western tinged video, is based around a stinging guitar riff, part Bloc Party part Led Zep, and a darkly humorous lyric about spending far too much time in a spit and sawdust underground bar; "I've been working on a cocktail / Called grounds for divorce"

With "Audience With The Pope" Garvey tackles religion in a song that he's dubbed "A Bond theme if Bond was from Bury and a recovering Catholic.". It even has the requisite Bond-theme-esque guitar solo.

Next track "Weather To Fly" is beautiful and the sort of track Snow Patrol would record if they could actually write and sing songs that were anything deeper than shallow. It starts with a heartbreaking falsetto sub-vocal and a bass line that sounds distinctly "Chasing Cars" before the beautiful lyrics spin out over the gentle beats;

Pounding the streets where my fathers feet still
Ring from the walls,
we'd sing in the doorways,
or bicker and row
Just figuring how we were wired inside
Perfect weather to fly.

Brilliant.

Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver is a stunningly intelligent track in which the misery of someone else's life is played out through all of us. Sounds complicated - it's actually brilliant. It's a heartfelt song, the type which Elbow do best, an industrial percussive line underpinning a swooning vocal and a string laden melody.

Richard Hawley duets with Garvey on next track "Fix", a chirpy, atmospheric, after last orders little number which lyrically deals with a pair of chancers making plans for their ill gotten gains.

Some Riot sounds like a mournful plea to a long lost friend, possibly "The Seldom Seen Kid" himself (Bryan Glancy, a friend of the bands who sadly died in 2007). "I think when he's drinking / he's drowning some kind of riot / what is my friend trying to hide / cos it's breaking my heart / it's breaking my heart".

"One Day Less" sounds like the natural successor to "Any Day Now", whether the main character's luck has changed. Or has it? The strings soar, the drums beat endlessly and Garvey swoons about seeing the light, and being in love.

"Friend Of Ours" is definitely a tribute to the bands lost friend Bryan Glancy, the seldom seen kid. It's beautiful, not at all sugary, and genuinely touching and moving. A fitting album closer if there ever was one. If Garvey's "Love you mate....." doesn't move you then you must have a heart of stone, surely.

This is a fantastic album, sure to please Elbow fans and I think equally sure to attract hoardes of new fans too. If you like your music delicate yet powerful, swooning yet direct and happy yet sad - this is most certainly the album, and the band, for you.
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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars make room for Elbow, 14 Mar 2008
By 
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (Audio CD)
I first heard Elbow on one of those late night car journeys listening to the radio. The track was Any Day Now and I thought it was amazing. Slightly dissonant, almost like a medieval chant and it stuck in my head for days. There have been a further two albums since that debut which are both filled with consistently interesting tracks and increasingly honest lyrics dealing with Guy Garvey's relationships and emotions. Why anyone would bother listening to a band like Coldplay when they could have Elbow instead is beyond me but there we go. The band have said that this may be their last album proper with future work released on ep's and singles so is it a fitting farewell (of sorts)?

The album begins with Starlings; a cacophony of sound which suddenly cuts out to reveal a quiet glockenspiel punctured with loud horns and eventually Guy Garvey's voice sounding as heartfelt as ever. Bones Of You takes its starting point from the power of a song to transport you back in time to a memory - 'And I'm five years ago/And three thousand miles away' but we should realise that Garvey is not a rose tinted spectacles kind of guy. Mirrorball is a great example of what Elbow do well; a gorgeous ballad with piano, drums, soaring strings and Garvey's voice up close and personal, filled with emotion ' When we make the moon our mirror ball/the street's an empty stage;/the city sirens - violins./Everything has changed.' The tempo lifts with first single Grounds For Divorce, a down and dirty, bluesey, western influenced anthem with a kick. And then we have Audience With The Pope, a challenge to religion which with its Russian sounding melody comes on like a Bond theme 'I've an audience with the Pope/And I'm saving the world at eight/But if she says she needs me/Everybody's gonna have to wait'. Weather to Fly has a simple melody and three verses which go round in a similar way to Any Day Now, building in intensity, a beautiful track about the band's wish to follow their own course. Then we have the huge Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver a song which soars lyrically, vocally and musically. Richard Hawley guest duets with Garvey on The Fix, a real character piece which is steeped in smoky, after hours atmosphere. Some Riot is a quiet song, a plaintive cry to a friend in trouble. The big crowd pleaser One Day Like This is the penultimate track, filled with strings and a rousing chorus, sure to be a festival and live favourite with it's chorus of 'It's looking like a beautiful day'. The closing track Friend Of Ours is a heartfelt tribute to the seldom seen kid of the title, Bryan Glancy, a friend of the band who died two years ago. 'Never very good at goodbyes/So gentle shoulder charge.../Love you mate.' Touching stuff.

This is a fantastic collection of songs, not the kind of watered down pop that will make them a chart success like Coldplay or Snow Patrol but the sound of a band confident in their abilities (this album was self-produced for the first time). They have always been good at creating depth musically, and with the honesty of some of the lyrics and Garvey given full range with his voice this is a fitting tribute not only to Glancy but to the band themselves for following their own direction.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elbow - Faith firmly restored in the discerning British public, 26 Nov 2008
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (Audio CD)
In recent months both the huge support/acclaim for this album and the John Sergeant affair are proof that we should never underestimate our enduring ability as human beings to occasionally do the right thing. Elbow are a great band FACT. Never fashionable, no gimmicks, not much fuss but always able to create great music and sticking to their guns despite no immediate breakthrough on the cards. All their albums are streets ahead of the average run of the mill British bands, the likes of Keane and Snow Patrol. Here on "The Seldom Seen Kid" they move into overdrive. Some of the most wondrous songs ever recorded by a British band are contained on this CD and the album stands as a unified whole whether it be the dramatic sweep of "The loneliness of a tower crane driver" (a song that only Elbow could write) oor the grinding blues of "Grounds for divorce" . It is a number of absolute showstopper songs however which will twist your emotions into knots. "Weather to Fly" is jaw dropping in its simplicity, breathtaking in its beauty and had this reviewer weeping as if the day job was to peel one hundred raw onions. Running it a close second is "Mirroball", all power and romance with superb lyrics, not least the verse where Guy Garvey beautifully sings the words -

"We took the town to town last night.
We kissed like we invented it!
And now I know what every step is for:
To lead me to your door".

Then you have the Glastonbury anthem "On days like this", the lovely "The bones of you"" and the aching heartbreak of the very special "Friends of ours" dedicated to the bands great comrade Bryan Glancy which is the ideal closer with its tender refrain of "love yer mate". Anyone who loves music will have been ecstatic and chuffed to bits when they won the Mercury award. Their delight and response was a joy. Not for Elbow any of the "we are great artists and to good for awards" or "too hip to pretend that we really do care" attitude. Its been a long hard road for them to travel and Guy Garvey's and his band members reaction was genuine and honest just like their music. A final plea then, buy it for holiday or any birthday for every member of your family, give it to your friends, play it to the cat, send multiple copies to Simon Cowell and make him have Elbow theme night on the X Factor. Better still take that rubbish of the TV for a week and give the stage to Elbow. Make it the Christmas No 1 album, give a knighthood to each band member......I'm going for a lie down now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music, wonderful 45rpm double album!, 25 April 2009
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I won't talk much about the music. There have been enough reviews about that. I'm going to concentrate on the vinyl LP release. This is a great double album cut at 45rpm! Excellent mastering and heavy 80/200 gm pressing. Gatefold sleeve with lyrics. Definitely worth the extra if you want the vinyl release.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ulp..., 7 May 2008
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (Audio CD)
...can't seem to get that lump out of my throat. Or stop listening to Weather to Fly... could be a connection there.
My god I love this.
Seen them live four times now and the last time a few weeks ago was the best. They've been together for 18 years so it wouldn't be surprising if they stop making albums, but I really hope they don't - each one just gets better.
This is my favourite album by my favourite band. So there.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God bless you kid, 24 Mar 2008
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (Audio CD)
Slowly , inexorably ,Elbow have become the BIG band we can rely on. More so than Radiohead (Whose admirably non-commercial bent makes them hard to warm to musically sometimes) more so than R.E.M. who have become rather derivative , and certainly more so than pompous blowhards like Coldplay and U2 . Their debut "Asleep In The Back " still sounds magnificent and while for me "Leaders Of The Free World" didn't quite justify the hype it is still an album with wondrous moments. "The Seldom Seen Kid" therefore has been as hotly anticipated as the next Paris Hilton home video . A lot of pressure for the band then ...
Keyboard player Craig Potter has taken over production duties and while he's not installed any major changes in the band's sound, there's a sparkle and variety about the album that renders it instantaneously appealing. As is usual with Elbow, significant subjects dominate. Several members of the band have recently become fathers, and the album is dedicated to their close friend Bryan Glancy, a Mancunian singer/songwriter who died in 2006. Of course, there's also the usual Guy Garvey ruminations on love, bereavement and relationships, written with his earthy eloquence and wit.
The usual guitars , keyboards and drums are embellished by strings ,brass and what is credited as "The Elbow choir". The sound is expansive and hefty , several songs alternate between quiet/loud moments and Garvey ,s slightly gravely tones are in fine fettle .He can do the sensitive stuff ....well sensitively but when some vocal thrust is needed he is never found short of horsepower.
Take the exceptional "The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver" where the aching cavernous strings see Garvey lament perceptively till at the swelling orchestration he howls with consummate empathy .That's just one of several outstanding songs on this album. "Starlings " has warbling electronics and languorous vocal backing punctuated by truly startling ruptures of brass and great lines like "I'm asking you to back a horse that's good for glue". "The Bones Of You " sets off kilter percussion to thrumming guitar notes and morphs from lovely melody to reverberating dissension like a butterfly turning into an iron vampire bat.
The pretty acoustic "MirrorBall" lends itself to a glistening orchestral in contrast to the grinding industrial tones of "Grounds For Divorce" which still has a memorable hummed verse line. It's that ability to match the incongruous to purring melodies that makes a band like Elbow so special. "An Audience For The Pope" sounds like a soundtrack with espalier keyboards and a melody as smooth as a racing snake. "Weather To Fly" is a truly unparalleled ballad with multi tracked vocals where Garvey is asking "Are we having the time of our life's?" while sounding utterly forlorn .
Yet in the midst of all this touching splendour comes the duet with Richard Hawley "The Fix" a playful character piece about a pair of scammers with slightly arch harmonies , fairground organ and fifties guitar . "Some Riot" is a solemn incremental ballad with trembling chords and this segues into "One Day Like This" which has dreamy slightly oriental strings which suddenly jar like a stubbed toe then turn all dreamy again as Garvey cry's "Holy cow I love your eyes". The Elbow come in for the last third in a redolent of "Grace Under Pressure" from their last album ."Friends Of Ours" is the closing elegy to Glancy with crystal piano notes, dew heavy guitar and another exquisite string arrangement. Hidden extra "Were Away" is brief and like a bar lounge number with the lights dimmed low and tumbler filled with scotch on the rocks on top of the piano.
The Seldom Seen Kid is an exceptional album , full of pathos , compassion, vulnerability and yet also brimming with strength and self deprecating wit. It does that tremendously difficult thing of matching genuine sonic and musical innovation with a sterling ear for a rousing tune. Okay it won't blow your windows out with astounding clinical soniferous experimentation which is what some people will criticise it for no doubt. While it's on though the world will go away and you feel truly alive and full of rampant possibilities. That's what great music does. That's what Elbow can do better than most .On this album they do it a hell of a lot. Holy cow I love this album .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ELBOW !, 13 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (Audio CD)
What more do I need to say, LOVE it ! I'm from the North west and he sings the way I speak - quite broadly, great, hate it when artists try to sound like Americans - why do they do that?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Beautiful, 25 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (Audio CD)
This is quite simply the most beautiful collection of songs. Guy Garvey draws you into a world that feels private and treasured. His voice is so delicious it must be fattening. An absolute gem that I can't recommend enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, and simply the best!, 5 Sep 2011
By 
P. Butterworth "PJB" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (Audio CD)
Loud bits and soft bits make can make this challenging to listen to as background music - so don't do it! Pay attention and enjoy. The poetry here is really amazing, and some corking tunes. I'm from the 1980's / 1990's era and loved Indie and the Manchester sound, but disliked rap and despair of most music now but this gives me hope. Wonderful - a treat, and a joy and I've recommended it and bought it for many friends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sledom Seen anything this good!, 21 Feb 2009
By 
Grant Mackie (Dromore, Co Tyrone, Sunshine capital of Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Seldom Seen Kid (MP3 Download)
Downloaded this album over Christmas and spent the following weeks listening to it over and over. This album hooked me right from the start, but it wasn't until I'd listend to it a few times and concentrated on the lyrics that I really fully appreciated just how good it was.

The lyrics are intelligent, witty and thought provoking both in their content and delivery. The imagery evoked in 'The Bones Of You' combined with the music is just amazing. The album journeys through many different styles and moods from the laconic wit of 'The Fix', the heavy guitar driven riffs of 'Grounds For Divorce' to the anthemic (see the BBC Omlympic coverage)'One Day Like This', all without missing a beat. An absolute delight of an album that deserves to be more widely known. Buy it and enjoy!
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