For some bands, the singer making a solo record would be the beginning of the end.
On the evidence of Courting The Squall, that’s not likely to be the case for Elbow. In fact, one is tempted to wonder why Garvey made it without his bandmates at all.
As the only member who would be recognised on the street – his huge beard and peculiarly prominent public profile have seen to that – it can’t be to seek fame as well as fortune.
Although some critics have suggested otherwise, it sounds very much like another Elbow album and outstanding single Angela’s Eyes is by no means the best thing here. Aside from his big voice, Garvey is blessed with a gift for instantly familiar melodies and fabulous lyrics (“There’s cheap red wine and a big blue moon, come to me my little ingenue” is one I’ve just plucked at random) and seems incapable of making a bad record.
Courting The Squall is possibly the best Elbow album since The Seldom Seen Kid. Play through headphones and enjoy.
Like this? Try these: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Boatman’s Call; Marianne Faithfull, Give My Love To London