Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Renowned For Sound

For the latest music reviews and interviews

Album Review: Elbow – AUDIO VERTIGO

3 min read

British indie legends Elbow have carved themselves out a perfect niche over the last twenty-odd years. Their critically acclaimed forth album The Seldom Seen Kid launched them into the mainstream off the back of two major singles, Grounds for Divorce and One Day Like This, and since then they have continued to grow their influence. 2014’s The Take Off and Landing of Everything became their first UK number one album, and their subsequent releases have received much praise from critics and fans alike. Now, the group have returned with new album AUDIO VERTIGO.

The album begins on an abrupt note, Things I’ve Been Telling Myself for Years kicking off with a crisp snare hit and a shared guitar and bass melody, leading into singer Guy Garvey and a choir singing the title in a beautiful harmonised fashion. It’s a lyrically packed and instrumentally smooth opener that leads into the hugely compressed and wonderfully syncopated initial single Lovers’ Leap. Immediate brass and low-level bass construct a truly hypnotising and somewhat ominous song. The back half of the track incorporates more rhythmic elements, and finished on a half-time soulful note that is as much enjoyable as it is surprising. Balu is another tight and lyrically acrobatic tune, incorporating fuzzy synths and fun brass sections. It’s upbeat and punchy, proving itself not only as a great single but as one of the earliest highlights on the album.

Very Heaven and Her to the Earth begin the low-key middle to the record, the latter’s middling pace being built up of squelchy bass and a captivating mix of layered vocal passages, 80s-pop-esc keys, and danceable drums. The quiet chorus features Guy at his most intimate, front and centre surrounded by the soundscape. The Picture brings the tempo back up, driving along an indie-rock backing complete with distorted guitars matching the synths. This leads into one of the various interlude tracks, Poker Face, this one being more of a complete track but coming in at barely a minute and a half. Embers of Day is the third and final one, coming between the swaggering and sorrowful Knife Fight and the jovial Good Blood Mexico City. The album concludes with From the River, a song that manages to sound both uplifting and anxiety-inducing with its use of droning synths and intriguing chord choices. 

AUDIO VERTIGO lives up to its title in that the band have been able to create songs that mix emotions and feelings to point where the the listener is unable to work out what they’re feeling towards them. It’s in this that the more complex tracks pull you in, and the similar songs illicit a strong reaction, usually of joy or love. Guy’s vocals are a perfect fit as always, his melodies gorgeously integrated into the instrumentation, and the band as a whole are on point and working hard. It’s a surprisingly up-tempo record as far as more recent Elbow records, and it is certainly well worth a listen.