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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

Brilliant and Built To Last

Without a doubt the best of their four albums. Its anthemic, gorgeous melodies and richly textured sound incline me to say it's the album you wished Coldplay captured after A Rush Of Blood To The Head. But that sounds derivative and The Seldom Seen Kid is its antithesis. From the whimsical duet with Richard Hawley, "The Fix", to the lighter raised "One Day Like This" to the stomp of "Grounds For Divorce" or the flamenco-tinged, epic "The Bones Of You", the Seldom Seen Kid glitters. Lyrically, Guy Garvey has developed a keen, street sense poetry. Whether he's "working on a cocktail called grounds for divorce" or plaintively "spinning and diving like a cloud of starlings" or planting a kiss on his lover that wouldn't wake a baby, Garvey intrigues. The Seldom Seen Kid is one of those records where each listen elicits a new favorite song. A great, beautiful record.

Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

WXPN in Philly (America's best radio station, XPN.org on the Web) introduced me to this band with "Grounds for Divorce." Thought any band that could produce a song that good and be so loath to dangle a preposition deserved further attention so I downloaded this album without hesitation. Great decision. I NEVER give 5 stars unless you've penned the likes of a "Dark Side," but these guys are brilliant and this album's a masterpiece; should take its place among popular music's greatest albums. For the uninitiated, although comparisons to Cold Play are inevitable, Peter Gabriel leaps to mind especially on the breathtaking "Weather to Fly" and the equally breathtaking "Tower Crane." Listen to "Some Riot" and be reminded of Roger Waters. But all comparisons falter when the six-and-a-half minutes of sheer inspiration called "One Day Like This" spins; nobody writes like this, nobody. I will not endeavor to review each song here; I love them all and each leaves me wondering why Elbow hasn't blown the lid off the pop scene, a scene which could certainly use a little lid blowing...

A great new find for me

I had never listened to Elbow before I listened to this album about a week ago. I'm glad I finally discovered this amazingly talented band! The Seldom Seen Kid is an beautiful, clever, and complex album that takes several listens to be fully appreciated, but is well worth the time. I read a review that mentioned the fact that Elbow is a difficult band to describe in terms of their sound and I completely agree. I've never really heard a band I thought was comparable, and this album seems to push in several different directions musically. I love the way the string and horn arrangements fill out the tracks, and the singer's voice is incredible, but I think what makes this CD great are the clever lyrics. There are some great stories to be found in this album. The pace of "Kid" can be a problem for me at times because it seems to drag, but with a little patience, I start realizing and appreciating the beauty of each and every track. Elbow have made a completely unique and rewarding album that deserves attention here in the States. Favorite Tracks: Grounds for Divorce, One Day Like This, An Audience With the Pope

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...
Full Bio