|The Seldom Seen Kid
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There are few things in life quite so liberating as the opening track on an Elbow album--they're like airlocks between the plainness of the outside world and the elaborate melancholic heave-ho that you are likely about to submerge yourself in. Following predecessors "Any Day Now", "Ribcage" and "Station Approach", "Starlings" opens their fourth album The Seldom Seen Kid rising from a bed of tumbling electronic subtlety like a depressed Atari game loading up, adding bare touches of piano, glimpses of ambient guitar, out of body background vocals, an understated pulse and a wisp of strings, before--EXCELSIS!--a fanfare avalanche of horns crashes the gate and elevates things to gasping palatial heights, before Guy Garvey's inimitable gravel tone and wrenchingly poetic reinterpretations of the everyday announce their arrival proper. It's astonishing, by far the most progressive moment on the album and if anything it sets the bar too high. But even when the pace dips, and songs like "Mirrorball" and "Weather to Fly" don't distinguish themselves quite enough, their textural peerlessness remains. This is a beautiful sounding record. Their collaboration with Richard Hawley may be more of a curiosity than a thing of beauty, but the highs, the riffing cross-stitch of "Ground for Divorce", the desolate grandeur of "The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver" and the enlightened string-laden anthem "On a Day Like This" (like their own Sound of Music--only substitute the Alpine peaks for a Manchester high-rise) number amongst the best of their career. --James Berry
Acclaimed for their innovative sound and candid, evocative lyrics, Elbow has received vast critical acclaim and been endorsed by major artists Blur, R.E.M. and U2. Elbow return with a new album, "The Seldom Seen Kid", their follow up to 2005's universally acclaimed Leaders Of The Free World and first for Fiction/Geffen Records. In support of the new set Elbow will be coming stateside kicking things off with a show in New York City April 26, 2008 at Webster Hall.
"New Elbow is sublime!!" - SUPERNOVA
"Their latest effort deserves to trigger a large-scale love affair. Elbow are at the top of their game" - UNCUT MAGAZINE
"Every now and then a great band like Elbow comes along. I am a big fan so its no surprise that I totally love the first song to surface from their upcoming album, The Seldom Seen Kid" - EACH NOTE SECURE
International pressing of ttheir fourth album. The Seldom Seen Kid is a welcome return from the band, driven by a thunderous riff that reminds listeners of Elbow's love of the heavy as well as the delicate. Produced by keyboard player, Craig Potter, the album is the follow up to 2005's universally acclaimed Leaders Of The Free World. The lyrical core of The Seldom Seen Kid sees Guy Garvey address the key questions of life. The big themes of love and loss become the central focus of an album that sees Elbow, a band universally recognized for their musical ability and innovation, stretch their sonic template further than ever before. We move from the sparse Electronic of `Starlings' through the flamenco influenced `The Bones Of You' to the Zepellinesque Rock of the first single `Grounds For Divorce'. 12 tracks. Polydor.
- Astonished by the creativity
I hadn't heard of Elbow before hearing an "OMG who is THAT?" song on XM radio. That initiation (Grounds for Divorce) sent me on a treasure hunt, and I found the "Seldom Seen Kid" at the end of the rainbow. What a great purchase. I've listened to it several times through now, and am knocked breathless by the beauty and creativity in every track (make room, Lennon and McCartney). These songs have amazing range, sly lyrics, and sheer, gorgeous, soul-filling arrangements. I thought at first that I might not care for a couple of pieces that were a bit "lounge" until I stopped and gave my attention to them. They did not fit into the box I had constructed for them, and now I am helplessly and happily tangled in the overflow. Elbow flies high, and they share their Pegasus pills with those of us who pause to listen. There is such a range of sound on this shimmering disc that I expect every listener will find at least a few songs to be grateful for....more info
- Outstanding as usual for Elbow
Elbow is consistently sensitive, but also rocking. Caution, though: don't listen to track 1 on this CD while you're driving, or if you're jumpy....more info
- Favorite CD in a couple years
Saw this band on "Live from Abbey Road" on Sundance Channel, loved the song "The Bones of You" so much I made it my ring tone, then bought the CD. Loved the CD so much, I bought 3 more copies for friend who just had to have it, too. "One Day Like This" is a beautiful and romantic powerful piece. Their lyrics are consistently fresh in expressing ageless ideas of love and friendship. Vocals so engaging, every musician at the top of his game. I know this isn't their first CD, but it's hard to imagine that they're just going to keep getting better than this....more info
- Elbow's "The Seldom Seen Kid" - Awesome Record, An Instant Classic
Elbow's new album, The Seldom Seen Kid, is simply an awesome understated gem. It just goes to show you that if you produce beautiful nuanced music it will fly under the radar 90% of the time.
It's so interesting that as Coldplay is morphing into a guitar-synth alternative band with their newest album Viva La Vida, Elbow has stepped into the void of piano-band in the rock alternative world.
While I really do love both bands their music is really different. The record that Elbow has created here really stands on its own and is truly an instant classic. It is a rare new album that I play start to finish three times (as I always do when listening to a new album) and don't find a single song to be out of place. The entire album rocks, both as a total work and with each song taken on it's own.
Like Paddy Casey's newest album Addicted to Company, this is another example of a band that is bigger in Europe getting a formal introduction to the US. Maybe the success of Amy Winehouse has made record companies more bold to cash in. This is also another example of music that does not offend but may not always inspire. I personally love both albums but this Elbow release just blows everything out of the water.
The entire team behind this album has done a great job. The vocals and lyrics of Guy Garvey are certainly a big part of this record, but the entire band really can be heard on this guy. Craig Potter on keyboards in particular is given center stage, but Mark Potter also has some strong guitar riffs, such as on "Grounds For Divorce." The rhythm section is rounded out with Pete Turner on bass and Richard Jupp on drums. Richard Hawley does a guest vocal and guitar on the number eight track, "The Fix."
Production is attributed to Craig Potter. That's an amazing accomplishment in and of itself. Self produced albums are rarely this great. The liner book has some cool art along with the lyrics and more info about the recording. It's almost like a little story-book, and for liner geeks like me is a welcome extra compared to the bare pictures that are often included in CD inserts.
The record company has clearly decided to highlight the songs "One Day Like This," "Grounds For Divorce" and "Mirrorball." All three of them are awesome and have the potential to be hit singles. Still, I found so much to love on this album those weren't even my favorites.
"An Audience With The Pope," "Weather to Fly" and "Friend of Ours" are all subtle and smooth tracks with great lyrics, nice vocal melodies and harmonies and solid musicianship. "Some Riot" could have come right off of a Pink Floyd record. And "The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver" had an amazing operatic feel to it, and could easily have been confused with Coldplay but for the simple guitar chord bridge. To each their own. Like I said, I really did love all these tracks to varying degrees.
I know that Elbow has been around but this is the first album I really got to listen to closely. And I'm glad I did get to listen to this. Everybody has different tastes, but considering I rarely praise an album this much the fact that I wasn't a fan before this should lend some weight to my view.
Check this out. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.
- The regularly heard album
Atmospheric. Haunting. I find it difficult to describe Elbow's THE SELDOM SEEN KID without falling back on vaporous language that neither describes nor illuminates. But, simply, put this is one of the most interesting albums I've listened to in quite a long time.
THE SELDOM SEEN KID is a magnificently produced indie album that just manages to avoid being over done. The keyboards are just right, the orchestration is spot on. I found many of the gentle rhythms and melodies to be almost hypnotic.
This isn't an album of catchy pop-tunes; it took me a few complete listens before I could dig what the band was doing. But once I got into it, I loved it. It's slightly out of the mainstream; it's a little bit strange. But it sure is great once you tune in to its wavelength....more info
- The best of Brit Rock; a song for every mood.
Elbow is a band I've grown to love over the years, and after enjoying their Leaders of the Free World album, I was very impressed with The Seldom Seen Kid. Realizing that not every song will jam, and not every song will pluck the right heart string for that mood, I listened to each song at different times, in different moods, and I must say that while it may not be a CD you'll listen to straight through, each individual song is a masterpiece. Kudos to the guys from Manchester!!...more info
- M.O.R. Elevator Musak for John and Jane Doe
When John and Jane Doe drive home from work, John and Jane need music. Like their cars, clothes and even the neighborhood they live in, John and Jane like their music safe. That's why they like muzak. Music at home both in the elevator, doctor's waiting room or even for 'lil Johnny's tenth birthday party.
Buy this music/muzak and let it be the soundtrack to your McWorld. There are some great McHits and even some McBlues tracks with McSoulfull singing. The fast food of music. Or the music of fast food?...
Let it shroud your soul in shrink wrap. Play it first thing as you rise out of bed. Sing to it as you shower and even as you cover yourself head to toe with brand-name clothing. If Coldplay is too artsy and heavy and you need something with that down home, old-school, backwoods, cheesy British white guy blues, just like down in Memphis except without the bluesiness or soul, then this is for you.
Just like Britney Spears is exactly like Aretha Franklin except without the music or voice or anything. The world needs another Coldplay like my neighborhood needs another Starbucks...
- Rave Reviews & Clever Album Title Won't Save This Album
All the scenester magazines (and you know who you are) are going crazy with this album. Giving it 5-stars / 9 out of 10 / etc. But truthfully this album is not that good.
I liked Elbow's last two albums. True, it takes a few listens to get use to the lead singer's voice. And yes, Elbow isn't the type of band to put out an album that will get any radio play or have a hit song. With that in mind, one must understand that this is not going to be an album that you put on before going out or celebrating. One must slowly appreciate the subtleties and musicianship of this good band.
With that being said, this album has done nothing to improve themselves from their previous two albums. The album is extremely boring and doesn't have any catchy songs, beats, or lyrics. I tried listening to it while cooking and at work but I quickly got irritated and just wished that the album would end. It's quite annoying at times and it's pretty much re-hashed (but not as good) stuff from their last two albums. Trust me and not the "so-called" music critics and pass on this album. Their last two albums will suffice you for now. Hopefully Elbow can improve on their next album - give us something catchy and/or different.
- Music for smart people...
Elbow is the kind of band that don't write music for punk kids with attitude problems. They are the kind of band that you look forward to the drive home with, and The Seldom Seen Kid is just the ticket. Best heard on the Bose stereo system with the windows up, every song brings a different emotion, & the songs are deep and rich! They invoke your imagination and make you want to fall in love or out of it all over again. Worth a prize spot in the CD changer....more info
- Quietly confessional and clever
Like Lambchop, Elbow is a band that can slip unawares before you knew they were even in the room. Their latest release, The Seldom Seen Kid, is so skillfully subtle, it may be to their detriment. It's a clever release that's as ethereal musically as it is lyrically. Hence, I would declare it a near masterpiece, for whatever that's worth.
Though a highly meticulous and methodical output, don't think that words like ethereal or quietly confessional make the band's sound out to be less than what rock and roll should encompass. Indeed, dare I say the band employs a certain amount of cheek, specifically in songs like An Audience with the Pope or The Fix, that their quiet nature can take a turn for the devilishly devious.
Other songs like Some Riot, Mirrorball, Tower Crane Driver, Weather to Fly, and Starlings reach and ultimately place Elbow's sound well within the atmosphere, with the characteristic British melancholy rightly exemplified in other bands like The Good, The Bad & The Queen. Deceptively good stuff....more info
- A Most Interesting Band
Is there a band out there producing music more interesting than Elbow? Nothing jumps to my mind. Elbow is a band hitting its creative stride. They have a distinct sound, not entirely all its own, but close enough that one could pick out an Elbow song if hearing it for the first time. One thing is for sure...the band has listened to a few Pink Floyd records in its time. There is a definite Floyd influence here (Some Riot). Some suggest Guy Garvey's voice is similar to that of Peter Gabriel. I really don't hear that too much. This album is not for the casual listener. Similar to a movie with an intricate plot, this album requires the listener to stay focused and actively listen to get the full affect. This is definitely not background music as one reviewer here writes. There is so much going on here. It is as if the songs have a main musical plot with many other musical subplots swirling around it. (Maybe best illustrated by One Day Like This). This entices the listener to stay tuned into all that is going on. And also should help in the longevity of the album, allowing it to hold up over time. This multilayered sound is not easy to pull off without sounding cluttered and forced. Elbow pulls it off here with beautiful results. The Seldom Seen Kid is a remarkable album. Hopefully they will gain a bigger audience with this one....more info
- Seldome seen kid ...but Often Heard music
Its very difficult to put into words what the music of 'Elbow' has come to signify in my musical world over the past 4-5 months.
Lets put it this way - the 20-25 albums that I have heard after that - the comparison is always with 'Elbow' and this album in particular. No wonder then that this album won the Mercury Prize for 2008 as well.
Spell-binding ..right from the word go - as the first notes of Starlings hits your ears to the last track 'Friend of Ours' - this album is a miracle in its own right. The sounds are crystal clear, the vocals are amazing, the lyrics are stunning and of-course this is Indie Brit rock at its best.
Just one more thing - if ever you get a chance to attend an Elbow concert - do it without thinking twice. They sound exactly the same in person as they do on CD.
-A ...more info
- It grows on you...
On first listen, I was struck at the melancholy tones, slow pace, and darker lyrics. But as I listened more the music was enjoyable. When in a mellow mood. Some say the music is depressing, I don't find it so at all. But I suppose it depends on what you listen to music for, is it uplifting? Motivating? Nah, I certainly wouldn't use this music to exercise to, but to work to, commute, or just listen, I find it more and more enjoyable......more info
- Songs not terribly distinct but quite enjoyable as background music
I'm new to Elbow as of this CD (although I see on their Wikipedia page that John Cale chose their "Switching Off" as one of his desert island discs, which makes me feel like I should have known about them), so I can't compare with any previous work they've done. But I felt as if I was listening to Peter Gabriel singing material that was the lovechild of Coldplay and Beck. Not to say that any of that is bad; I quite enjoyed it as the kind of eccentric but largely ambient music that makes, say, preparing dinner while sipping a glass of wine an even more pleasant task.
That said, none of the tracks stand apart for me, even after a few casual listens. It's one of those albums that mixes well into a quiet dinner party soundtrack but probably won't mix well into a playlist that's meant to be truly paid attention to. ...more info
- Better than Good
Much has been written about Elbow since the release of their Mercury Prize winning 4th release 'Seldom Seen Kid', that I just had to buy this album out of curiousity. Many say that they are underrated but surely the masses vote with their feet and the cream always rises to the top. I cannot speak for their first three albums as I have not ventured that far as yet, but the 'Seldom Seen Kid' collection definitely has me yearning for more. For a start, the album is well produced and the songs well crafted. On first hearing, two tracks stood out - the brilliant 'Grounds For Divorce' and the beautifully arranged 'On a Day like this'. But, the album gets better with every listen and I find it rather infectious. This album is better than good and maybe Elbow are getting the deserved praise that was long overdue....more info
- SIMPLY AMAZING!!!!!!
Elbow is a major hit in the UK and Australia but not here in the states. Our loss!! However, as this CD is passed around it most likely will climb the charts and the hearts.
The Seldom Seen Kid CD speaks to today's generation but could easily entice the older generations of the '60's - '80's as it did me. (I hear a touch of Alan Parsons Project -Beatles - Chicago - and difinitely a bit of Leonard Cohen). BUT . . .Elbow is their own creation with their own sound.
Their sound is different but strangely familiar. Each tune takes you on a journey of sound with an interesting message. It's true that there really is not one bad song on the CD. It's a journey. An exhilarating journey! Spread the word on this one. Everyone who has heard it has been delightfully surprised.
- Emotionally Resonant And Grand
If you've read the other reviews here, you can see that it's nearly criminal that Elbow gets little attention on this side (US) of the Atlantic. On the other hand, it's always nice to have our little musical secrets. It's always a bummer when your secret band gets too big and everyone "loved them for years..."
Elbow is often compared to Radiohead and Coldplay, and although there are some commonalities musically, on the emotional scale Elbow leaves them both, and most other bands, in the dust. Guy Garvey's lyrics and vocals evoke emotions in a REAL, heartfelt way. I don't ever feel as if he's going through the motions. Each line comes, really comes, from his heart. Mirrorball, track 3, is a perfect example. Beyond the great lyrics and singing, Elbow is a band of flawless musicians as well. Creativity and uniqueness abound.
There's not a weak song on this CD, but the outstanding tracks are Starlings, Weather To Fly, The Bones of You, and the above-mentioned Mirrorball. One Day Like This is an effortless anthem on the scale of U2, yet less self-conscious.
Elbow delivers live as well. I saw them in May 08 when they played the Showbox in Seattle. Guy is an excellent frontman and had the crowd eating from his hands. His "cheers" at the conclusion of remarks between each song must have sent bar sales through the roof that night. :-) Although I would like them to get more attention, sales, and respect, I must admit I enjoy being able to see them in small venues vs the larger auditoriums and festivals they play in Europe.
I digress, however. Try out this CD, and give their back catalog a listen as well. You'll be amazed at what's been under your radar all these years....more info
- Gets better with every listening! (4+ stars)
Elbow's "The Seldom Seen Kid" truly gets better with every listening. The music's indie mix of synthesized keyboard tempered by bluesy guitar complements the soulful voices of lead singer Guy Garvey and the rest of the band. Pink Floyd seems to be a definite influence, especially in "The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver" and "An Audience with the Pope," but don't think for a minute that Elbow's sound is derivative. "The Seldom Seen Kid" exudes originality on every track.
There's not a single song I dislike on this CD, although I have my favorites: "Grounds for Divorce," "The Bones of You," "An Audience with the Pope," and "On a Day Like This." The instrumental texture varies from track to track, from the percussion and synthesizer-driven "The Fix" (which sounds like it might belong in a contemporary musical) to the orchestration of "On a Day Like This" to New Age-sounding opening notes to "The Starling" to the acoustical guitar and piano of "Friend of Ours." The unifying factor is Garvey's pure voice that never dominates; he sings as though he is another one of the instruments. The band has dedicated this CD, in particular the song "Friend of Ours," to a friend who passed away, and their affection and longing comes through, even on some of the more upbeat songs.
I have listened to "The Seldom Seen Kid" a dozen times, and each time I like something else about it. I highly recommend this CD to anyone who appreciates indie/alternative rock with a clean, yet complex sound. ...more info
- 4.5 stars... Overnight success 15 years in the making
The UK indie-band Elbow has been making waves for many years, but mostly under the radar screen and far away from the mainstream. Even though the band has been playing together for a a good 15 years, this is Elbow's fourth album only, but what a beauty it is.
On "The Seldom Seen Kid" (11 tracks; 55 min.), the band continues to brings its rich soundscapes. Opening track "Starlings" starts off with a long instrumental intro, eventually leading to the opening line from lead singer Guy Garvey "How dare the premier ignore my invitation", haha! (And it just struck me again me how much Garvey's voice reminds me of Peter Gabriel's, and that's a compliment. "Grounds for Divorce" is the hardest-charging song on the album, but it works quite well. "The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver" is a more typical representation of the album: lush, pensive, mesmerizing, just beautiful. "The Fix Is In" (with a guest appearance from Richard Hawley) is for me the odd track out on the album, it just doesn't work. Next-to-last track "One Day Like This", on the other hand, is another delightful highlight on this album, with a full orchestral touch to it.
In all, this is a delightful album from start to finish. This album won the prestigious 2008 Mercury Prize in the UK, and brought unexpected but much deserved acclaim to the band, which is now an overnight success that has been 15 years in the making. If you wonder where you might here these guys, check out internet-only station WOXY ("BAM! The future of rock and roll"), which brings the best indie-music in this country, bar none. I have never seen these guys live, but sure hope that I will have a chance to do so in 2009. Meanwhile "The Seldom Seen Kid" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. ...more info
- Proof I've been away from the (great) music scene too long
Be careful if the volume is up on first song ("Starlings"). Apart from wishing the few blasts weren't so loud at its beginning, I couldn't be more delighted with this album. On a 1-5 scale, I'd rate every song a 4 or a 5 - and seven of the songs a 5 ("The Bones of You", "Mirror Ball", "Grounds for Divorce", "An Audience with the Pope", "The Fix", "Some Riot" and "On Days Like This"). This is not commom for me, even with my favorite groups (such as "The Fall" had been for two decades) I often only like a couple songs per album.
I suggest giving this album at least five listens. That's how long it took me to really appreciate it fully. And look at the included lyrics at least once while listening: Guy Garvey's wordsmanship and vocals are something else. The instrumentals are hardly lacking, often being beautiful. I don't have musical training so it's hard for me to describe what I'm hearing, it's not common at all. The only rocker was "Grounds for Divorce" and I admit that on my first few listens through this album I thought it might be the only one I'd really go for. I had "repeat" selected and kept playing "Grounds for Divorce" over and over. Loved it and still do. Better not to play the album in the car or if you do to keep the air conditioner down or off or that and other car noises will lessen the experience: the rest of the music is more subtle, delicate, sublime, not sure what adjectives are best, it goes beyond me to describe and it's lucky I can just listen apart from this review and recommendations to my friends.
I'll try to follow up by adding a comment in a month or two when I know how this album is holding up for me - or if I've moved on to other albums by Elbow which I'd definitely like to do. I've usually needed a fix of harder music (e.g. The Fall, The Plasmatics, Sex Gang Children), maybe I'm getting old but happening upon "The Seldom Seen Kid" has been an unexpected treat.
- "The Spanish Archer"
Ok, well, I meant 3 and a half stars really, but I always tend to over-club. In this case, its fair enough I suppose. Look, what I mean is this. This album is produced and performed really well, I like the Manc grittyness of the singer because I can relate to it, I found the first 2 tracks immensely personal to me, which I always like because they reflect scenarios that I can relate to. The crush on a younger woman in "Starlings" (although I find the brass bit rather annoying) and the wonderful "Bones of You" in which the way that a hearing of a long forgotten song has the ability to transport you through space and time to a relationship long gone is wonderfully realised. The rest of the album failed to engage me as intimately and deeply as those first 2 songs however, why, I dont know. Perhaps I expect too much from my music, perhaps they set the bar so high with those opening tracks, I dont know. What i do know is that these guys deserve their success, because they are are obviously putting a lot of love, thought and care into what they are doing. I hope the dreaded curse of the Mercury doesnt hurl them into oblivion (Anthony and the Johnsons or Talvin Singh anyone?) because they are worth more than that. What in my "record collection" sounds like them? If any of you have heard "Last Good day of the year" by Cousteau or "The Honeymoon is Over" by the Cruel Sea, you are probably in the right area. They are certainly in the same solar system as Snow Patrol or Coldplay, but I dont quite see connect them too readily, certainly more in common with Bell X1 perhaps. Yes, now I come ot think of it, everybody reading this rush out and buy "Flock" by Bell X1, its great! ...more info
- Can't stop listening to this!
The more i listen to listen to this, the more i hear! Weather to fly, grounds for divorce and one day like this...Amazing songs!!...more info