Top positive review
82 people found this helpful
on 16 September 2013
This millennium in his albums (if not some side projects) Elton has been intent on re-establishing himself as a musical artist to be taken seriously, rather than a declining purveyor of plastic pop and inconsistent albums. He has made good progress; with The Diving Board he has arrived. That is not to say it will suit all Elton fans. Amid the exciting buzz of praise, there have been some dissenting voices. But my own doubts when underwhelmed by first impressions of lead single Home Again and a live version of upbeat Mexican Vacation have been well and truly laid to rest.
Don't expect an album full of spectacular tracks, catchy pop, instant classic singles or a return to hard-driving 70s rock. Pared back to piano-bass-drum trio, with striking piano to the fore, The Diving Board's strength comes from its cohesive mix of consistent, at times surprising, pleasures and tracks that grow. I certainly won't be skipping any.
The Diving Board is a labour of love, which gathers r&b, gospel, jazz and classical influences, with sumptuous or tender ballads, a few upbeat numbers and three brief "Dream" piano interludes acting like palate cleansers between tasty courses. It may remind at times of the early Elton John and Tumbleweed Connection albums, Blue Moves, Songs from the West Coast and even (superior) hints of Lestat, or what that musical might have been. Yet while it's familiar it's also bold and intriguing- a tremendous cumulative experience for me, rounded off by a sublime title track, that lifted me to places Elton's music hasn't taken me since Captain Fantastic.
Yes, this is the Elton album I've waited 38 long years for. It's deep, warm, dark, rich and wonderful. I hope you enjoy it too.