Mike A. Bryan, Staff Writer
There is a somewhat unknown British alternative/prog-rock band called Elbow, who have been producing incredible modern rock ballads and anthems since the 1990’s.
Last year, they put out their seventh album, “Little Fictions,” that should definitely make it into your heavy rotation if you like U2, REM, Interpol, Radiohead, Muse, or Genesis (especially Peter Gabriel); Coldplay is along the same lines, but wishes they were as musically talented as Elbow. Their music has been featured on TV and in movies, with a track serving as the theme music for the BBC’s coverage of the London Olympics in 2010; they also performed two songs live for the closing ceremonies.
Not only is Elbow prolific, producing seven studio albums, but they have also contributed various theme songs and covers for other compilations and projects, including the theme song for the popular video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.”
Elbow self-describes their music as “prog without the solos,” with rich orchestration filling out their alternative, modern rock sound. The music is subtle, but emotional and moving, most songs having a sing-along quality, with catchy choruses and memorable hooks. Lead singer Guy Garvey’s voice has a theatrical quality that lends itself well to the orchestrated music. It has only been in the past decade that Elbow has come into mainstream popularity, with their past two albums reaching number one on the UK charts, even garnering them a Mercury Prize. The first track on the newest album, “Little Fictions,” “Magnificent,” is an ode to love and beauty, and is extremely catchy. “All Disco,” “Little Fictions,” and “K2” are also standout tracks, but there isn’t a bad song on the whole album.
The music is pretty and sonically inviting, creating a lush soundscape with songs about love and other emotional topics. The use of strings, horns, and keys, along with the guitar, bass, and drums produces full, layered music that is easy to listen to and vibe out. They are one of those bands that have their own unique but consistent sound, meaning if you like one album, you will most likely dig the others. This is due, on the more recent, popular albums, to the constant presence of the main keyboardist Craig Potter as producer. If you like any of the aforementioned bands, you will fall in love with Elbow. Just because you missed out on them for the past twenty years does not mean you cannot enjoy them now, so check them out.