Elbow - The Take Off And Landing Of Everything - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Elbow - The Take Off And Landing Of Everything

by D R Pautsch Rating:7 Release Date:2014-03-10

Elbow embody the British spirit. They strived for three wonderful albums to break through with their melodic, doom laden rock and somehow when they had given up hope they hit gold-dust with album number four, The Seldom Seen Kid. They became huge stadium superstars and the world was at their feet. 

They achieved this through hard work and producing an anthem which appealed to everyone ('One Day Like This'). That they had released better albums and better anthems ('Grace Under Pressure' trumps 'One Day Like This' from this perspective) mattered not. They had broken through. Everything from hereon in was going to be easier.  

The Take Off and Landing of Everything (shortened to TTOALOE from now on for the sake of sanity and brevity) is the second album after that watershed moment. It sees a band who finally can be confident in what they do and not strive to deliver what is required. It's been touted as their best album yet. For the sake of brevity...it isn't.  

Elbow deliver something very good here. They don't feel the need to deliver a chart-friendly stab at success ('Cocktail for Divorce', 'Forget Myself') and everything is lower-tempo. There isn't an out-and-out anthem either (perhaps the single 'New York Morning' comes closest). But this is unmistakably Elbow.

'Fly Boy Blue/Lunette' is a plodding number which reaches its heights when it turns into its 'Lunette' phase. 'Charge' could be a single if it didn't contain so much swearing. 'My Sad Captains' sees Guy Garvey reaching for the heights and not quite getting there. 'Honey Sun' is a catchy, simple number with minimal guitar and lots of mood. It works well.  

As ever with Garvey, there are some excellent turns of phrase within the lyrics here, but quite what he means by "The BMX apothecary, the architect of infamy" will remain a mystery. There is no single tune with the heart-wrenching moments of some of Garvey's best-written songs ('Mirrorball' will always pack a punch to anyone with an iota of feeling).  

The sum of the whole of this album is better than its parts. It works as a single piece quite well without ever soaring to previous glories. To a confirmed fan, this is a slight disappointment. Sure, it's a good solid album with moments that make you hum along, but it isn't as good as their best.

TTOALOE is better than most albums released by stadium acts will be this year. It's just not as good as it could have been. It doesn't quite have that killer song or moment. It doesn't soar as high as you hope.

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