Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
I've Got Your Number
Reaching back to Elbow's Cast Of Thousands
elbow.co.ukMy relationship with Elbow has been circuitous to say the least. Their debut Asleep In The Back failed to engage and I didn’t give them another chance until 2005’s Leaders Of The Free World, a record liked well enough, but it wasn’t until last year’s The Seldom Seen Kid that they really finally clicked – partly thanks to them crafting a terrific album but also because of my finally being able to reconcile expectation with reality.
And so it’s kind of ironic that the one album of their four that I skipped in all this, 2004’s Cast Of Thousands, would turn out to maybe be my favourite of their catalog. I grabbed it off of eMusic a while back, probably just burning through some downloads, and it’s slowly but surely worked its way into my brain to the point where I got up one day, decided “I need to own this properly” and ordered up the CD. Then hearing it on a proper hi-fi system rather than just through headphones confirmed that this, indeed, was a stunning record. It has a leanness that isn’t there on the subsequent records – which isn’t to say they’re bloated, they’re just definitely “bigger”, sonically. And well as that approach serves them, Cast has a certain lithe grace and melodicism which I find irresistible, and wouldn’t have expected considering Guy Garvey’s considerable presence. And I might go so far as to say that “Switching Off” is the loveliest song in their repertoire.
All of which is apropos of nothing, save to say that if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of discovering this record and at are all interested in Elbow or the grand tradition of melancholic British rock, then do yourself a favour and seek this out. A little more in the here and now, the band performed their Mercury Prize-winning album The Seldom Seen Kid alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra back in December in the legendary Abbey Road Studios and a recording of the show – both aurally on CD and visually on DVD – will be made available come March. Those interested in pre-ordering the package can sign up to be notified when orders will be taken. I’m a little wary about what the fanciness of the package will cause it to cost, but I’m definitely curious to hear the show.
Elbow will appear on the forthcoming War Child: Heroes compilation, out February 24, covering U2’s “Running To Stand Still”. They’re also setting out on a UK tour next month supported by none other than Ottawa’s The Acorn. I find that terribly exciting for The Acorn. I don’t much expect there to be any North American touring in the near future – a damn shame – but maybe this complete concert from last Summer in Amsterdam at FabChannel will help just a little.
And to wrap up, the videos from Cast Of Thousands.
Video: Elbow – “Ribcage”
Video: Elbow – “Fallen Angel”
Video: Elbow – “Fugitive Motel”
Video: Elbow – “Not A Job”
Video: Elbow – “Not A Job” (other version)
Video: Elbow – “Grace Under Pressure”
Video: Elbow – “Switching Off”
Magnet‘s “Wrens Watch” begins to yield some real dividends as they’ve got a new song, still untitled but recorded just last week, available to download. And I daresay that even in such a rough form, it sounds GREAT.
Denmark’s Efterklang are at the El Mocambo on April 1, tickets $10.
Video: Asobi Seksu – “Me & Mary”