Review of the Elbow album ‘The Take Off And Landing Of Everything’.
It’s always been hard to know which direction Elbow will head in. One minute they’re assaulting the charts with Coldplay-esque prog pop, the next they’re taking home Mercury Music Prizes and giving zero fucks about their public reception. They occupy a rarefied space between national treasures and critical darlings, and have done so for a number of years. Equally amazing is that Elbow have managed to stay sonically dynamic throughout this process. No two albums of theirs sound the same, despite Guy Garvey’s distinctive vocal sticking out as a cohesive signifier. This strange confluence of characteristics is exhibited perfectly on The Take Off And Landing Of Everything – it sounds immediately like an Elbow album, yet like nothing they’ve done before. It swerves through subtle sound shifts and dramatic changes alike. The mood flits from assertively comfortable to wantonly paranoid. Lyrical gems like ‘Give me G&T and sympathy’ are nonchalantly thrown up. And this is just in the first three songs. The rest of the album is highlighted by a characteristic juxtaposition of experimentation and accessibility – from the Colin Greenwood-like bass of Fly Boy Blue + Lunette to the flighty pop of New York Morning. Once again, Elbow have defied all expectation and surprised nobody.