Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid
Now, we are down to it. In 2008, Elbow released The Seldom Seen Kid, for which they won the Mercury Prize.
Looking back, and considering the two studio albums released since, TSSK simply sounds like one more step in a simple progression forward from the airless art-rock of Asleep in the Back, to The Takeoff and Landing of Everything. And, with the last two in particular, it seems the rhythm section have found less and less to do.
Not so with TSSK. Plenty of punch and texture and grit here. From ‘Grounds for Divorce’ to ‘The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver’, there are big beats abound. The latter is a favorite of mine. I think ‘Some Riot’ may be my top choice: the claustrophobic sonic treatment of guitar and piano, swinging on that loping waltz, while Guy Garvey sings of a lost friend. Good stuff.
It almost feels (though it’s apparently not true) like The Seldom Seen Kid was the last record Elbow made as a band. Most everything since sounds like a Guy Garvey solo record. Oh, I did try his actual solo record, and didn’t like it. Not yet convinced I like where Elbow are headed either. That said, I respect artists that continue to evolve, I am only hoping the next release is not full of show tune covers.