Elbow albums can always be a bit hit and miss. With the notable exception of 2008’s Mercury nominated “The Seldom Seen Kid”, most long-players from the Bury prog quintet feature a fair bit of filler amongst the killer tracks. Ordinarily that has proved to be just about enough to keep things on the right side of average, but here on their lacklustre eighth, there is a distinct lack of standout singles.
Things do not begin well, with the awkward “Dexter & Sinister” – a track that stops and starts completely out of rhythm before finally settling down in its third act. “Empires” does little to pull things back, with its directionless dirge, while the already radio overplayed “White Noise White Heat” falls flat thanks to its boisterous drums and dis-jointed chorus.
There are lovelier moments elsewhere – “My Trouble” breezes past like an autumnal daydream, but really it’s too little to leave an impression. What’s worse though, is the downbeat vibe running through it like a niggling doomsday prophecy. Lyricist and singer Guy Garvey has always had a way with a verse, telling heartwarming stories and vignettes about the people and places he encounters, but on “Giants of All Sizes” it all seems a lot more hopeless – as if he’s lost sight of the beauty of life.
What a shame it all is from a band with such a wonderful track record. Let’s hope it’s only temporary.
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