Elbow - Cast Of Thousands

Bill Cummings 28/02/2004

Rating: 4/5

Emotion is often something frowned upon in these times of balls to the wall bluesy garage rock n roll man! Well Elbow are here to redress the balance a couple of years on from their majestically gloomy and melancholic debut proper "Asleep in the back" they emerge with this their second opus. This time the spectre of the likes of Spiritualized and Radiohead hangs over these tracks, as Elbow set about creating beautifully crafted songs that are steeped in melancholy but also a kind of hope through tragedy. Opening track "Ribcage" sums this up pefectly above a bed of stuttering beats Guy Garveys voice is at one moment frail and vunerable on the verses, only to be backed by a gospel choir and rise up into a chorus of "pull my ribs apart and let the sun inside."

Elsewhere the excellent first single "fallen angel" chugs along with a shimmering majesterial grace that is pleasing to the ear. "Fugative Motel" is the standout moment an amazing heart felt ballad that will weave a spell around the coldest of hearts. The centre piece is the track "Grace Under Pressure" this excellent piece of soaring emotive rock is backed not only by the bands circular playing but by a significant portion of a Glastonbury 2002 crowd singing " We still beleive in love so fuck you!"

A stunning record really, that despite my reservations at first grows warmly on the listener, revealing a hopeful heart and a bredth of musical pallette. Elbow are musical therapy indeed.