Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid

April 25, 2008

Manchester based band Elbow’s fourth album, The Seldom Seen Kid, is a powerhouse mix of grandly scaled pop and rock with searing lyrics that detail, for the most part, personal frustrations, confusion and turmoil: Yes, “emotional complexity” is their middle name. Though they’ve been frequently and rather lazily compared to bands like Radiohead and Coldplay, Elbow share more in common with bands like the late, great Arab Strap and Doves, another Manchester band, with whom they share a knack for the forcefully anthemic and the bittersweetly introspective, sometimes in the same song. They’ve added more strings for this record, clear on the first U.S. single, “One Day Like This,” further expanding their sound to good effect, and there’s even a guest vocal by Richard Hawley on “The Fix.” Though there are quieter moments, as on the piano ballad “Some Riot,” The Seldom Seen Kid is the most aggressive sounding album yet from this most excellent band. Very much recommended. Standout cuts: “Startlings,” “Mirrorball,” “Grounds For Divorce,” and “One Day Like This.”



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