Album Review: Elbow 'The Seldom Seen Kid'
From: MuHead <dan@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2008 10:07:40 −0500
Elbow return in March with their fourth studio album and follow up to
2005's critically acclaimed Leaders of the Free World. The album is a
personal affair, recorded and mixed by the band unaided at Salford's
It is fitting then that The Seldom Seen Kid, lyrically at least,
addresses deeply personal issues such as love and loss. It is the
product of a band now unashamedly grown up, and claiming their place
as elder−statesmen of British rock, with bands such as Keane, Snow
Patrol and Coldplay clearly taking their influence from them.
While Guy Garvey's wit and irony shine through at times ('I've been
working on a cocktail/Called grounds for divorce'), tracks like album
closer Friend of Mine, a tribute to band friend Bryan Glancy, the
seldom seen kid of the title who died in 2006, manages to be both
majestic and delicate.
Friend of Mine is the perfect demonstration of the kind of built up
ballad Elbow do so brilliantly. The emotion in Garvey's voice is
obvious as he admits he is 'never very good at goodbyes' and the
sparseness of the music at the beginning of the song is the perfect
accompaniment. The track builds into a sweeping orchestral movement,
making it the perfect funeral song.
Elsewhere there are demonstrations of beautiful Elbow ballads and
Weather to Fly stands as the album's pivotal moment. If any of Seldom
Seen Kid's songs stand as a reason for Elbow to share in the success
of the bands they have so obviously influenced, it is this one. With
luscious harmonies, gorgeous piano, and a practically hypnotic beat,
the track sounds almost blissful in its melancholy. However, it lacks
the instant catchiness of something like Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars or
Coldplay's Fix You, and while it doesn't suffer for this, it means
that Elbow may once again be overlooked by the mainstream.