Elbow: Little Fictions

Score: 5/10 – Ordinary thunderstorms.
“Fall in love with me, every day” coos Guy Garvey on “Gentle Storm” – a tune that, much like Elbow’s newest album as a whole, lives faithfully up to its name. The quiet rumble that denotes their sound, coupled with the frontman’s soft lilt and reassuring tone means that you just might fall in love with him, but that really depends on if you’re already a fan or not. Yes the beardy Mancunians are back with more of the kind of comfortable, Guinness-powered prog rock that is pretty much the musical equivalent of a hug-in-a-mug, but have they brought anything new to the table this time round?
Essentially: no, they haven’t. Great news for existing fans, but anyone who wasn’t converted by their Mercury Prize-winning triumph “The Seldom Seen Kid”, may remain unsold. Rallying tunes like Olympic anthem “One Day Like This” or the Peter Gabriel-endorsed “Mirrorball” rightly got most of the world on side with their sing-along choruses and infectious optimism, but since then the Bury quintet have settled down into a more unassuming soundscape. The songs drift by pleasantly enough, but don’t quite pack the punch of previous efforts.
There is still plenty to enjoy though: opener “Magnificent (She Says)” kicks off confidently enough, with its fidgety retro guitar noodling over a gorgeous digital string arrangement, and the funky groove of “Trust The Sun” twinkles beautifully. Elsewhere it’s more of a collection of subtle moments; the layered vocals and jazzy tempo of “K2”, the mellow guitar strums of “Head For Supplies”, the aforementioned hushed vocals of “Gentle Storm” and so on. It’s the kind of stuff that will probably only be appreciated by listeners with an ear pre-tuned to the Elbow sound. For others it may prove too underwhelming to get to grips with – understandable but a shame nonetheless as there is indeed much to fall in love with here.
Dan Ashcroft
Like this? Try these:

EditorsThe Weight of Your Love
Perennially gloomy indie overlords take it back to basics.

DovesThe Last Broadcast
Beardy northern rockers dabble in euphoric indie.

I Am KlootSky at Night
Guy Garvey produces fellow Mancs for career highpoint

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