Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it a few listens, 19 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Take Off And Landing Of Everything (Audio CD)
There has always been a sense of disappointment whenever I have listened to a new elbow album for the first few times. See, on the purchase of each one - Seldom Seen Kid first (I know), then Asleep in the Back, then Cast of Thousands, Leaders of the Free world and then build a rocket boys! - I have always been left with a feeling of "Well, so far, so elbow" and believed that repeated listens would not quite match up to hearing the majesty of something like "Mirrorball" or later (for me) "Asleep in the Back" or "Newborn" (still pretty much my favourite elbow track).

So yes, the first listen of this was nice - I was walking a long distance with it on my i-pod - and it washed over me in that blissfully melodic elbow-esque fashion but, ultimately, did just that - washed away. I distinctly remember thinking that, were I ever to pick up my fingers and bash out a review of this album, I would find it difficult to write anything close to an excited or gushing review. I was convinced I would have to write something which suggested that the tempo and abience don't really change and that it's elbow in quiet mode, yadda, yadda, yadda.

In short, I didn't think I'd write a review at all.

In the back of my mind, though, I kind of knew - there was longevity there where initial excitement may have been absent. And that's kind of the essence of most elbow records - they tend to stick around like an old friend or a familiar situation - but an old friend or familiar situation that you still seem to find something new about upon each exposure.

Repeated exposure really does open this album up.

To the point, the changes in tempo and energy are subtle, but they are there. Yes, it is elbow in quiet mode but there's still that stubborn antagonism of "Bitten by the Tailfly"/"Mexican Standoff"/"Grounds for Divorce" in tracks like "Charge" and then there's the lilting borderline calypso of "Honey Sun" and the slowed-down sea-shanty of "My Sad Captains" and I can't quite put my finger on the familiarity of title track (though a riff in the background sounds similar to Maximo Park's "Going Missing") but this may be the stand-out track of the album. A multi-layered builder, the title used as a refrain throughout, it is (I imagine) going to be a live favourite.

And that's where I come to a stand-still. I can't really write any more because I would just be listing tracks from the album that I like - and there's not one I dislike at all. I'll finish with saying that, like the whole album, the single "New York Morning" is a grower and the segue from "Flyboy Blue" to "Lunette" is precisely what the song describes - a strident, could not give a rat's a$$ night out followed by a slightly regretful, shoe-gazey hangover - and to encapsulate that in a melody, let alone a song is a thing of wonder.

So, who should buy it? Elbow fans, even ones on here who have expressed disappointment with it, I think will find themselves listening to it more and more and having a similar experience to the one described above. If you are not an elbow fan, or just the occasional dabbler, I would say you are unlikely to find something rousing in exactly the same way as "One Day Like This" or "Open Arms" - but you will find ten tracks that you are likely to find yourself humming away and smiling as you do. I read some troll comments on the NME website which said that the poster imagined elbow fans listened to their cds with mugs of cocoa while wearing tweed.

Well, so what if they do? Personally, I prefer a sunny afternoon, a pint a cigar and a whisky. To each their own.

It took a while for it to get there but now it has lodged and I am thoroughly pleased about that. Every single song is now competing for attention whenever I have a little day-dream. Marvellous - let's put "My Sad Captains" on again.....
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Mar 2014 16:39:07 GMT
Spot on review except for your point about non-elbow fans I'm not (or rather wasn't) an elbow fan but I'm considering therapy to stop me listening to this album. I've had it for a week - oh my giddy aunt, there isn't a bad track on it and there are several that have become all time favourites already - how do they do that? Enjoy the beauty.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Mar 2014 08:58:51 GMT
P. Davie says:
Nice one - I'm glad that you like it. If you like this and don't have "Asleep in the Back" or "Leaders of the Free World", you should get them. The former is fantastic. You'd particularly like "Newborn" and "Scattered Black and Whites" I reckon. Happy listening.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2014 21:53:29 BDT
Thanks P.Davie - got them both (excellent albums) but keep playing Take Off and Landing! I lived in Bury for a short time and never suspected it would produce such talent. All the best,
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P. Davie
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