Friday, 11 October 2019

Lovesong: Elbow: 'Giants of All Sizes': XXL Heart: XXS Hope.

Just in case you miss it: Elbow have a new album out today.
I'm on the second play and, like an ill fitting jigsaw puzzle, it's starting to fall into place, in all of its dislocated, discordant glory. In fact ‘Dislocated Elbow’ just about sums things up.
It is not an easy listen. It speaks of the unsettled days that we've been lumped with by the mismanagement of our hectoring 'leaders': the permeating sense of brow-beaten unease a reflection of that uncertainty. 'Brexit Blues' would be too pat a title. Perhaps 'A Helpless Hymn agin Hubris' would be better. Garvey's downsized world view is delivered with his usual 'everyman' compassion, but an edgy sense of abandonment makes it feel less the usual matey chat. As you press 'replay' (and you will) it feels like you're doing so in an attempt to talk your defeated mate off the ledge.
The cover tells us as much. 
'Together Alone' would be the perfect title, but that's taken. The sense of isolation is palpable throughout. Christ, Garvey's first words nail his estrangement to the cross: "I don't know Jesus anymore."
Not a happy album then; there are no easy anthems, the moments of light make the darkness more acute, but, like Nick Cave's new masterpiece 'Ghosteen', the accumulative effect is devastating.

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