A blissfully varied, emotionally rich and absolutely joyous musical experience.
Beginning with the elegant and piercing "Starlings", which grabs us by the ears and throws us down a waterslide of glorious sound. The melodies, percussion and lyrical flow all melt together to form a marvellous introduction.
Then "The Bones of You" perks up and carries us along, with a very catchy riff counteracting a crunchy bass, and choice lyrics providing a quality musical package.
Next is "Mirrorball": a beautiful, quiet, anthem that stands out as classic Elbow but with a new, clean-but-still-clever sound. I approve of it boys, very good indeed!
Now we have "Grounds For Divorce": the first single. This one is an upbeat, raucous, pub-night-out song, which goes along with the video remarkably well - it's Elbow playing raucously in a pub.
"An Audience With The Pope" is a nice middle section to the album, trying to be a smooth piece bridging the early tracks with the latter (I feel it has tracks 1 - 5 and then 6 - 12). I don't actually feel it holds up though, and find it a bit of a weak point in the album.
"Weather to fly" is tight and well-flowing pop pretty, with Guy Garvey providing floaty, falsetto vocals. The rhythm and bass mix in to make a bounce that will keep us going right to the end, with brass seeing us out.
Then, like a wave upon the shore, comes "The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver": a epic, moving journey that is probably somehow about God. Whatever the meaning, it's still a smartly put together piece of music.
At number 8 is "The Fix", with as many gambling and rascally phrases as you could want chucked into the mixing pot, and the end result is a very cheeky and witty tune that keeps the pace up well.
After this upbeat reprise we have "Some Riots", as peaceful and elegant a song as Elbow have ever created. A melodic and melancholy piece that flows (just like the rest of the album) very well.
Then the second big single, "One Day Like This". It's quite clear to see why this one got such a warm reception, lines like:
Drinking in the morning sun
Blinking in the morning sun
Shaking off the heavy one
Heavy like a loaded gun
What made me behave that way?
Using words I never say
I can only think it must be love
Oh, anyway, it's looking like a beautiful day
So throw those curtains wide!
One day like this a year'd see me right!
More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmania.com/one_day_like_this_lyrics_elbow.html
All about Elbow: http://www.musictory.com/music/Elbow
These lyrics speak to a lot of Elbow's demographic and in many (myself included) rouses the spirit.
"Friend Of Ours" is another quiet and haunting song that mark this album as a gritty and emotional affair, but blissful, timid vocals make it worth the ride.
Finally we have a jolly end to a delightfully put together album, "We're Away". It's a short, almost romantic tune that feels like an invitation to come for more later; light percussion and the Garvey falsetto-then-gritty vocals bring it nicely to a close.
All in all, well worth the praise. A superb achievement from a band that have released several very good albums and here they have created a near-perfect album. One of my favourites, ever.