I can't put my finger on why I have not connected with Elbow in the past. As a fan of bands like Doves, early Coldplay, Flaming Lips and even some of Radiohead's work, you would think Elbow would fit right in that sweet spot. Now I'm thinking I need to revisit their previous six albums as their seventh, Little Fictions, is among my favorite releases of 2017. I'm spending the last few months of the year reacquainting myself with some of the albums from the first half of 2017 that caught my attention but didn't get a fair enough amount of my time. I've come back to Little Fictions a few times this year, but it wasn't until a recent headphone listen that I truly understood its brilliance.
Long time drummer Richard Jupp left the band before this album was announced but Elbow have carried on and certainly produced the best full length I have heard from them. Opener "Magnificent (She Says)" is just one of many outstanding ballads on Little Fictions, this one awash in glorious strings and an uplifting chorus. "Gentle Storm" follows and has a repetitive drum pattern throughout that could make you bob your head and miss the beautiful love song underneath it, subdued piano work with Guy Garvey pleading "fall in love with me."
"Trust The Sun" is built around a funky drum and guitar combo, but again there is a gorgeous piano based ballad lying beneath it. You have to dig a bit beneath the surface on some of these tracks, a main reason a headphone listen is essential. It really brings out the exquisite production contained within. The over eight minute title track is a prime example, starting with piano before a thumping electronic based drum beat kicks in, the song ebbs and flows between this and its more stripped down chorus. Also not to be missed is the fabulous "K2". Garvey delivers his vocals in an almost angry stream of consciousness style, with his voice echoed slightly behind him, but even here the song diverts to a more gentle chorus that grabs your heart strings, as does Little Fictions as a whole. One of 2017's best.
Favorite tracks: "Magnificent (She Says)", "Gentle Storm", "K2", "Trust The Sun"
Little Fictions was released February 3rd, 2017 on the Concord Records label.