If Elbow were carpenters they’d be considered master craftsmen, especially on album number six. The Mercury prize winners have created an epic, consistent, and beautifully-crafted timepiece that has as much mystery and emotional treasure as a stunning glory box.
The record is driven by Guy Garvey’s thoughtful and emotional lyrics, which have previously moved audiences. Now that he is approaching 40 they are also as mature and clever as ever.
The births, break-ups, and new romances that happened to the members of Elbow while making this album set the tone. In fact, the LP is nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster; some moments are joy-filled while others are tinged with loss.
‘This Blue World’ is similar to Foals’ ‘Spanish Sahara’ in that it is a broody ballad full of ambience. In this, Garvey makes a romantic gesture but he doesn’t get carried away with Hollywood theatrics, instead keeping things simple and singing wistfully.
These melancholic vocals are prevalent across the album as the singer croons and pleads, sometime rather softly, but in each instance commanding the listener to sit up and listen to what is being said.
There is a pop symphony in ‘Charge’, while ‘Fly Boy Blue’ sounds like something closer to a movie soundtrack. ‘Honey Sun’ sees some of Radiohead’s darker, Kid A-inspired beats coupled with sunnier moments and lyrics that take us to the ends of the earth.
The mood shifts to a more upbeat and spirited set of harmonising not unlike Fleet Foxes on the title track, while the closer sums up the attitudes of some English politicians towards refugees.
The Take Off And Landing Of Everything is not an immediate album nor one filled with makeshift singles. Instead, it is strongly centred on grandiose honesty, gentle storytelling, and a reflective sense of extensiveness. The result is evocative pop and prog that is rich and rewarded by multiple spins.
Originally published on 15 March 2014 at the following website: http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/reviews/new-music/393038/the-take-off-and-landing-of-everything.htm
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