THE transformation of Elbow from indie also-rans to Ramsbottom’s only arena-straddling behemoths is a quiet triumph for lovers of English guitar rock.
Built mainly on the Mercury Prize-winning success of 2007’s The Seldom Seen Kid and its monster hit, One Day Like This – which became so big that it played out a Children in Need single curated by Peter Kay – said transformation should by rights reach a new level with the release of The Take Off and Landing of Everything.
Cumbersome title apart, it’s nigh-on perfect, with wry lyrics to match its heart-wrenching melodies and determination to think big.
If The Seldom Seen Kid’s follow-up, Build a Rocket Boys!, paled a little in the shadow of its predecessor, The Take Off.. outranks them both.
Elbow-watchers are already familiar with epic lead off single New York Morning, but great as it undoubtedly is, it’s not nearly the best thing here.
For many, that honour will go to the simply awesome My Sad Captains, which inhabits the same musical planet as One Day Like This and will undoubtedly touch a nerve with the band’s fortysomething audience.
Seven-minute opener This Blue World is a triumph of restraint, bursting into life after four and a half minutes, while there are echoes of the Beatles in the Tomorrow Never Knows-ey title track and Fly Boy Blue/Lunette. The latter lurches from the heavy Elbow of Grounds for Divorce into distinctly lighter shades a la A Day in the Life, with Garvey playing both Lennon and McCartney.
Album of the Year so far.
Like this? Try these: The Beatles, Revolver; Ed Harcourt, Time of Dust