The Bury outfit, now a four piece after drummer Richard Jupp departed, have returned with their seventh studio album ‘Little Fictions’. This deep into their careers, you have to wonder whether they can keep adding to their fine body of work.
So, unsurprisingly, they open with ‘Magnificent (She Says)’, the archetypal Elbow euphoria soars through the chorus. Before its big release, the band expertly build a tension and injustice, can’t imagine what world they’re living in! Then, Garvey’s vocals some swooning in singing ‘a world that doesn’t even know / how much it needs this little girl / it’s all going to be magnificent she says’. It’s like a wormhole sucking in all ill feeling and spewing out a sense of hope only a child could have.
Jupp’s departure has lead the band towards a more beat heavy album than previous. On ‘Kindling’, the simplicity of the percussion allows the strings, vocals and guitar to have a hymnal quality.
On ‘Gentle Storm’, the constant percussion anchor Garvey’s tale of not wanting to argue with his wife. Again so simple, they neatly tie this complex tale of Garvey begging his wife to just love him at all times. To portray such a vulnerability after years of growing adulation from fans is a glorious feat of song writing and will only adhere him to the bosom of many more.
Garvey got married in the period between albums and wrote some of the lyrics whilst on honeymoon in Sardinia. So, you would forgive him for writing a lot about love, particularly the romantic ‘Head For Supplies’. However, on ‘Montparnassa’, Garvey again is achingly honest with himself post-breakup and lying to a therapist to get sympathy.
Having Elbow back is like welcoming a friend into your home for a boozy night of catching up and reminiscing. It’ll leave a mark in the morning but you’ll be yearning to do it again and again. ‘Little Fictions’ is the blueprint for how a long standing band can subtly evolve and take their fans along for the ride.