Note from Autopsy IV: I am out this weekend babysitting my new puppy so I’ve lined up a whole slew of guest writers for the week. I hope y’all enjoy them and the music they bring to our attention as much as I am. I’ll be back early next week.
This is undoubtedly one of my favorite albums of the year. It’s the fourth album from this British band and even if you don’t think you’ve heard them before, you’ve probably at least heard bits of them, as according to their wiki their music has been in commercials for the game Left 4 Dead, the British drama series The Devil’s Whore, the trailer for the Coen Brothers’ film Burn After Reading, a rally driving segment on Top Gear and trails for Rallysport on Dave. And even though they haven’t gotten a ton of press in the US, they also won the Mercury Prize for The Seldom Seen Kid, which is a pretty big deal…in Britain.
All I know is that regardless of how little fanfare they’ve received this side of the water, this album is fucking brilliant. It’s hard to say what the standout tracks are since I love them all so much, so here’s some thoughts on a handful of the songs. “Weather to Fly” has chilled out percussion, entrancing vocals and mellow horns. I love this song. A lot. The aforementioned “Grounds for Divorce” is a pounding, rhythmic song with a chorus that’s got kind of a call and response feel and reminds me of Peter Gabriel a bit, both in the music and also Guy Garvey’s voice. “The Bones of You” and “Starlings” are just unnecessarily gorgeous, with lyrics that make me want to simultaneously swoon and smack my boyfriend for not saying things like this about me. And I can’t even begin to explain how much I love “On a Day Like This” but every time it plays I become an optimist for 6 minutes and 34 seconds.
The album is full of nigh perfect music, imo, peppered with soothing strings and blasts of brass from the dozen or so additional musicians brought in to play violin, viola, coronet, flugel and other orchestral instruments. Some of the songs are dreamy and slow, some are trippy and swimmy, some are a little harder and all have these amazing lyrics that just floor me.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not just a chick album, I just happen to have a soft spot for love songs and this has some great ones, real panty removers. The best I can do to compare them with other music would be that there are flavors of Peter Gabriel, Radiohead (who are apparently huge fans), Verve, Travis and Keane, but they are so much more than the sum of these comparisons.
Check them out for yourself and see why this album is Essential Listening for me.
And as a bonus, here’s the boys covering Amy Winehouse from an appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge
Elbow on myspace, buy The Seldom Seen Kid on iTunes