Review: Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything
Published on April 1st, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
Mercury success gave the world at large an excuse to take unfair potshots at Elbow, but Build a Rocket Boys! was largely up to scratch with their first four albums – on The Take Off and Landing of Everything, however, predictability looks to have finally caught up with beauty.
It is beautiful – of course it is, this is Elbow we’re talking about – but Guy Garvey’s go-to tactic of juxtaposing wry, descriptive nostalgia with mind-blown wonder feels somewhat exposed by the sparser arrangements.
Why not ‘go to’ those topics, though? It’s what their music conjures, after all. Alas, the music is a little too one-paced this time around, leaving Garvey’s otherwise luscious cake-icing to fend, not always successfully, for itself.
“Fly Boy Blue / Lunette” is tense and otherworldly enough to remind of Elbow circa second and third albums Cast of Thousands and Leaders of the Free World – that is to say it’s very good, and it’s not alone here in being so.
(Incidentally, it features what John Bramwell of I Am Kloot likes to call “fizzy strings”, reminding us of course that Garvey and Craig Potter produced Kloot’s last couple of albums.)
Haunted/seasick-sounding closer “The Blanket of Night” is particularly strong, but such highlights are countered by the lack of imagination inherent in Garvey’s vocal pattern for “Real Life (Angel)” mirroring “Perfect Weather to Fly” so closely, the only real difference being the minor-key setting that surrounds it.
The “What a perfect waste of time” refrain from “My Sad Captains” is just Elbow in a nutshell – you know, ‘oh how little yet how much this means’, the beauty within the mundane and arbitrary – and as of yet Rocksucker isn’t altogether sure of whether that’s a good or bad thing.
We err towards the latter as of now, but come back to us at the end of the year – it may sound at this stage as if Elbow have nestled a little too snugly into their comfort zone on The Take Off and Landing of Everything, but then it’s not yet had the chance to sink in ‘n’ soundtrack, if that makes sense.
That’s the problem with this reviewing lark, you see – initial disappointment is sometimes blown away like so many cobwebs.
The Take Off and Landing of Everything is out now on Polydor.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!