BY APRIL S. ENGRAM
The British quartet continues their upward flight into the sublime with the emotive lyrics and beautiful music of their sixth release, The Take Off and Landing of Everything. Over the years Elbow have polished their unique, raw and solemn rock all the while channeling the same ethereal energy on their 2001 debut Asleep in the Back. Guy Garvey’s calm, semi-raspy vocals continue to sooth listeners as his airy harmonies complement the well orchestrated music (included are horns and strings) as crafted by Pete Turner’s bass, Richard Jupp’s drums, Mark Potter’s guitar and Craig Potter’s keyboards and effects—who doubled as producer on Take Off.
There are moments when these two elements, harmony and melody, are quite prominent and balance each other, as with “My Sad Captains” or the 7 minute title track. Meanwhile, “The Take Off” includes a sea of effects, piano, charging drums, plucky guitar and backing vocals that fill every lush minute. Yet there are quiet moments during which Garvey’s voice is at the forefront and wholly carries the song, as in closer “The Blanket of Night”; this genteel song only includes a rim shot, light acoustic strumming, unobtrusive bass lines and a soft keyboard that give way to lush, pulsing keys that suggest a dreamscape.
Of course beautiful music will only hold its weight when accompanied by quality lyrics and Elbow does not fall short here either. Known for their ability to poetically touch on everything from loss and love in profound simplicity, they can express the depth of love. In “Real Life (Angel),” for instance, Garvey sings: “You never need for a thing in this world/While I have a breath in me, blood in my veins.”
With every release Elbow sharpen their craft by polishing their sound. The Take Off and Landing of Everything is another fine release from a band that has yet to steer wrong.
DOWNLOAD: “Charge,” “Sad Captains,” “Colour Fields”