15th March, 2008

The Seldom Seen Kid

The fourth album from Elbow is another intensely personal journey through main man Guy Garvey’s experiences, dripping with introspective worry and wonder. Twice divorced, world-weary and used to life in England’s rainy cities, the music of Elbow always reflects the intricacies of life and loves in Northern towns, and its a narrative I buy into with every release.

The Seldom Seen Kid by ElbowFigure 1: The Seldom Seen Kid

I’ve written about Elbow way too many times, but I can’t help it. I find things in their lyrics, melodies and stories that somehow reflect my own thoughts and feelings, and I take ownership of so many of their songs that I have developed an impassioned loyalty to them that I’ll never lose.

The new album is soaked in all of this. Weather To Fly is melodically stunning and beautiful, The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver  is a rich and thick slice of classic Elbow melancholy, and the gorgeous Some Riot brought a tear to my eye, laced as it is with vitriol, anguish and well-placed curses. The most heart-wrenching of all is Friend Of Ours, a simple poem dedicated to late Mancunian musician Brian Glancy (most likely the “seldom seen kid”). Garvey’s “So - gentle shoulder charge - love you, mate…” gives us yet another lyric so desperately sad that late-night whisky-drinking music fans the world over can find yet more solace in Elbow’s optimism through gloom.

All in all, its time for us Elbow fans to yet again start banging on about how criminally ignored they are. Quite why the whole world loves Coldpaly and not Elbow still confuses me. The Guardian quite rightly mark The Seldom Seen Kid as their CD of the Week. If you find Elbow’s music glum and depressing, you’re missing the point. Anyone who considers Elbow, Radiohead etc in any way miserable needs to spend some time finding the real beauty in this world of ours, for I fear that those folks are taking the whole thing on face value only. Let a little sadness into your lives and see how happy it can make you.


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