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The Seldom Seen Kid

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Editors’ Notes

The Seldom Seen Kid, the fourth album by Britain’s Elbow, won the esteemed 2008 Mercury Music Prize in Britain. A moody, contemplative rock record rooted in the commercial ground tilled by U2 and Coldplay, TSSK didn’t quite reach the charthood it should have, for reasons having nothing to do with the music. Using quiet spaces, lithe strings, and pianos alongside glinting guitars and gently booming drums, Elbow, much like Radiohead or Doves, makes orchestral, emotional music that reaches deeper than many current bands. From the billowing, sunny “One Day Like This” to the blue-eyed soul of “The Bones of You” and the mournful elegy “Friend of Ours”, Elbow’s music — and front man Guy Garvey’s voice — is richly evocative and moving. The record’s pulse hits its zenith on the stomping chantey “Grounds for Divorce” (getting a popular workout over the years in TV and film), its veiled farewell to musician and mate Bryan Glancy (see “Friend of Ours” above) drowned like grief in a bottomless pint of Guinness. (Notice to Peter Gabriel fans: Gabriel covers the elegant “Mirrorball” as part of his Scratch My Back covers project.)

Customer Reviews

I salute your majesty

I've never been moved to write on i-tunes before but the lump in my throat has not gone away all day since I bought this magic and I want to write for two reasons : 1, Thank Elbow for the album I have been looking for my whole life and 2, Tell everyone who reads this to buy the album. I'm not going to comment on individual tracks; you need to listen to all of it; I cannot pick a favourite anyway. If you love original lyrics, beautiful melody and the rare combination of the best of both, buy this album.

Is there no end?

I celebrate the release of a new Elbow album like i do Christmas and i greet them with the same magical excitement! My only question is the following! 'Is there no end to this bands talent?' My answer would be NO of course and all you need to do to substantiate my opinion is purchase all 4 glorious albums and if you're still not convinced afterwards then just have a listen to their 'B' sides which would grace the A-side of any contempory British band. The truth of the matter is quite simple, Elbow are by far the most consistent band of the last ten years, and they continue to push the boundaries of alternative music, not content with traditional melodies and lyrical rhymes they cast a huge shadow over the majority of bands making a living out of music. Starlings smacks you in the face after a minute or so when the brass kicks in, hats off to Craig Potter for the production and unusual mix, lyrically it leaves you breathless, 'The violets explode inside me when i meet your eyes. Then im spinning and im diving like a cloud of starling.' The loneliness of a tower crane driver is a thought provoking masterpiece on an epic scale, Garveys voice flirts with the melody throughout and has an endless quality especially when hitting those big notes at the climax. Its got that empty paranoia feel reminiscent of ‘Any day now’ and ‘Cant stop’ off debut album scattered black and whites. The single is Grounds for divorce an oversized slice of Zepplin esque blues which has enough angst to incite war. This is where Richard Jupp turns up to the party with a bang, no doubt the skins on his drums needed changing following the recording of this beast. I can just imagine Phil Selway (Radiohead) jaw dropping when he first heard that beat. But this is what sets Elbow apart from the rest of us mere mortals. We know Guy Garvey is the greatest poet to come out of Manchester since John Collier and he can sing like a man possessed, but that’s clearly not enough, as the rest of the band all bring something unique to the table and i feel that is the secret to there success as they are unquestionably Britain’s biggest and brightest secret. They just seem to get on with it, and what may seem like a chore to others comes effortless to these modest mancs. I write music and perform in a couple of bands one being Inertia (myspace.com/danadpaul) and the other being a more commercial band Hips like Cinderella. With inertia I write music totally inspired by elbow, every bit of it, and i know that as long as Elbow are around and continue to do what they do best which is create exceptional music then you'll never here me moan or grumble about the music business being this that and the other. There’s not much left to say really, well there’s plenty but I’ve said enough for the time being at least. What you must do is go to the shop and buy this album, it must be from the shop then you also get to sing along as all the beautiful lyrics are printed in all there glory. I’ve been listening to the music of Elbow for sometime now and I’m still waiting to hear there ‘difficult 2nd album ‘cause when i do i'll be able to say they are human after all.

Effortless Genius

An album of heart breaking gorgeousness, my album of the year - and then some... Guy and the rest of the lads how do you do it?? Constantly improving the exceptional Elbow armory of great albums... I can't say any more - I have to go and listen to it again... and again...

Biography

Formed: 1997 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Injecting a wider range of emotions into their music than most of their guitar-based British peers, Elbow have been known to refer to their orchestral, grandiose sound as "prog without the solos." The members of the band — vocalist Guy Garvey, drummer Richard Jupp, organist Craig Potter, guitarist Mark Potter, and bassist Pete Turner — met during the early '90s while attending college in Bury. After moving several miles south to Manchester...
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