Elbow – Flying Dream 1

Sadness abounds in music these days (which says something about the state of the world), but still no one does it quite like Elbow....
Elbow : Flying Dream 1
7.9 Polydor
2021 
Elbow : Flying Dream 1

Sadness abounds in music these days (which says something about the state of the world), but still no one does it quite like Elbow. The British alternative outfit have been chronicling our tragic lives for over two decades now, and yet still find more to mine. Admittedly, the COVID pandemic has been fertile territory, with the members composing their music each on their own before exchanging ideas, and finally recording at an otherwise empty Theatre Royal in Bristol. Even for Elbow, Flying Dream 1 is a sad record, but also largely restrained.

“I’ve never been so sure / I was right where I should be / In my whole life,” Guy Garvey sings on standout “The Only Road”, and there is a distinct confidence on Dream of Elbow doing what they are meant to do. The somber, quite tone throughout the album does mean that some pieces fail to standout, but also that relatively grander moments such as the almost lounge at times “Is It a Bird” or bigger closer “What Am I Without You” feel special. It is similarly the case with the moments of light, such “What” or the preceding “The Seldom Seen Kid” (named after their seminal 2008 record – QRO review).

Wisely released not in 2021’s summer of hope but the fall/winter of Omicron loss, Flying Dream 1 sees the masters of sadness pull it off again.

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