Of all the musical awards that get thrown around each year and forgotten the next the only one I’ve ever tended to pay any attention to is the Mercury awards. The past list of nominees and winners is pretty impressive and its a list of musicians which i generally agree with as well. In fact my favourite album of all time was a winner, Badly Drawn Boy’s The Hour of Bewilderbeast (which might have had a slight influence on the name of this blog.) This years list was no exception either, the nominees including the amazing albums by British Sea Power, Neon Neon and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, any of which could easily have one. However they were beaten to the prize by what i am starting to realise is a truly phenomenal album, The Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow.
I’ve known about Elbow for years but they were one of those bands who just kind of washed over me. I had a couple of singles, ripped from compilations but nothing had ever grabbed me enough for me to invest the amount of time into it that it probably deserved. This is something i think will definately change now that I’ve listened to The Seldom Seen Kid a fair few times.
The track everyone will know from the album is the pretty ridiculously successful single “Grounds for Divorce ,” used in everything from Top Gear to the latest Coen brothers film. Its definately the most obvious single off of the album and also by far the most rocking with what is surely the best riff I’ve heard in years.
I don’t think that Grounds for divorce is really the best impression of what the whole album is like though. Instead the main body of the album concerns itself with introverted string sections and unexpected crescendoes. There are dark creepy paranoid tracks like “The Fix” featuring Richard Hawley which then in just a couple of songs turn into something like the amazingly uplifting “One Day Like This.”
It runs the whole emotional spectrum but keeps true to a unified sound which builds throughout the album and grows on you at every listen.
It’s a really spectacular album which after enough listens can be really rewarding. I Wish I had discovered Elbow sooner but now look forward to investing in the rest of their back catalogue.
If you like the album, push the red button on your remote in the next few days or so and check out Elbow performing the album with the BBC concert orchestra, which is really absolutely jawdroppingly good. Another band you might want to check out are one of my favourite bands who really don’t get enough coverage I Am Kloot, long time friends of Elbow whose first album was produced by the lead singer of Elbow, Guy Garvey and whose latest album will be produced by him as well.