Elbow - Leaders Of The Free World

Liam McGrady 03/08/2005

Rating: 4/5

A homage to Manchester, this, the third album from Bury's Elbow, picks up exactly where 'Cast Of Thousands' left off; with Guy Garvey and Co. bursting with ideas and crafting huge, elegant, hymnal tunes. 'Station Approach' (the road leading to Manchester's Picadilly station) builds from a simple piano riff to a thunderous volley; a rapturous accumulation of fizzing guitar and percussion. And well, 'Forget Myself' may chug and chunter like an ageing coal train to begin with, but it soon builds up ahead of steam with the sparkling - ever reaching higher - elegiac chorus being one of the catchiest this year (so good in fact that you're constantly willing it to come along again). In addition to these standout tracks there is the woozy, sleazy, politically charged title track ("the leaders of the free world are just little boys throwing stones") and Elbow at their haunting ballad best on 'My Very Best'.