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Elbow — The Take Off and Landing of Everything (2014)

 Elbow — The Take Off and Landing of Everything (March 10, 2014)

GBR Flag Elbow — The Take Off and Landing of Everything

  Manchester alternative band that layers socially relevant lyrics, steeped in the British experience, over atmospheric, epic rock.
  New CD rich with intelligent, well–crafted pop songs covers a range of subject matter, from personal and political to simply observational.
Location: Manchester, England, UK
Album release: March 10 (UK, EU)/25 March (US), 2014
Record Label: Fiction Records (UK, EU, AU, CA)/Concord (US)
Duration:     57:18
  All lyrics written by Guy Garvey, all music composed by Elbow.
01 "This Blue World"     7:14
02. "Charge"     5:17
03. "Fly Boy Blue/Lunette"     6:24
04. "New York Morning"       5:20
05. "Real Life (Angel)"     6:47
06. "Honey Sun"     4:57
07. "My Sad Captains"     6:00
08. "Colour Fields"     3:43
09. "The Take Off and Landing of Everything"     7:11
10. "The Blanket of Night"     4:25
» Guy Garvey — vocals, strings and horns arrangements
» Richard Jupp — drums
» Craig Potter — keyboards
» Mark Potter — guitar
» Pete Turner — bass
Additional personnel:
» Tim Barber — trumpet on "New York Morning" and "My Sad Captains"
» Katharine Curlett — trumpet on "New York Morning" and "My Sad Captains"
» Jimi Goodwin — backing vocals on "New York Morning"
» Peter McPhail — baritone saxophone, clarinet and sopranino saxophone on "Fly Boy Blue/Lunette", alto saxophone and baritone saxophone on "New York Morning"
» Bob Marsh — trumpet on "My Sad Captains"
» The Hallé Orchestra — strings on "Charge", "Real Life (Angel)" and "Honey Sun"
» Chris Worsley — score on "Charge" and "Real Life (Angel)"
  Caroline Abbott  Violin
  Rosemary Attree  Violin
  Tim Barber  Trumpet
  Paulette Bayley  Violin
  Elizabeth Bosworth  Violin
  Dale Clifford  Cello
  Zoe Colman  Violin
  Katharine Curlett  Trumpet
  Chris Emerson  Viola
  Danny Evans  Engineer
  Lyn Fletcher  Leader, Violin
  Guy Garvey  Composer, Horn Arrangements, Lyricist, String Arrangements, Vocals
  Piero Gasparini  Viola
  José Tomaz Gomes  Assistant Engineer
  Jimi Goodwin  Vocals
  The Hallé  Strings
  Janey Hallett  Cello
  Julia Hanson  Violin
  Richard Jupp  Drums
  Bob Marsh  Trumpet
  Pete McPhail  Clarinet, Sax (Alto), Sax (Baritone), Sax (Sopranino)
  Rachel Meerloo  Double Bass
  Julian Mottram  Viola
  Craig Potter  Keyboards, Mixing, Producer
  Mark Potter  Guitar
  Steven Proctor  Violin
  John Purton  Violin
  Grania Royce  Violin
  Beatrice Schirmer  Double Bass
  Daniel Storer  Double Bass
  Mark Thomas  Photography
  Pete Turner  Bass
  Simon Turner  Cello
  Paul West  Layout
  Chris Worsey  Score
  Tim Young  Mastering
»  The Take Off and Landing of Everything is the sixth studio album by British band Elbow, scheduled to be released in the UK on Fiction Records on 10 March 2014. Originally recorded with the working title of All at Once and then renamed Carry Her, Carry Me, the band changed their mind shortly before the album’s release and settled on naming the album after one of its tracks, with singer Guy Garvey explaining, “It’s to do with the fact that there have been [so many] life events. There are five members of the band — people have split up, got together, had children. It never stops, this stuff. Especially round the [age of] 40 mark… and yet I wanted to remain celebratory about that. Everybody’s feeling relief, with remorse, next to joy, next to loss.”
»  Garvey spent time in New York recently, but Elbow’s latest album remains anchored in the doughty verities of North–west England, notwithstanding the American influence on the lyrics to “Fly Boy Blue/Lunette” and “New York Morning”. Despite being written by different combinations of the line–up, it’s possibly their most homogenous album, most songs riding gentle pulses of percussion, organ and piano, guitars circling the action. At times, there are echoes of Krautrock and Terry Riley. Garvey remains a master of character, as with the roaring boys in “My Sad Captains”, and while several songs dissect his own relationships, his tribute to asylum–seekers in “The Blanket of Night” displays a noble empathy.
»  The group spent the first two weeks of the album's recording at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in November 2012, before moving back to their own Blueprint Studios in Salford to complete the album. Speaking about the decision to start the recording process at Real World, Garvey said, "When you're there, you get six months work done in two weeks. To go and live and breathe your record without the distractions of the rest of life, you make creative decisions you would not have made at home."
»  As with the songwriting, Elbow broke with their traditional method of recording together as a group, and — on the advice of an engineer at Abbey Road Studios — they instead recorded their parts separately at different times in the studio.
  Australian Albums (ARIA)     #12
  Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)     #29
  Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)     #1
  Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)     #15
  Danish Albums (Hitlisten)     #25
  Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)     #4
  French Albums (SNEP)     #183
  German Albums (Media Control)     #22
  Italian Albums (FIMI)     #61
  Irish Albums (IRMA)     #1
  New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)     #29
  Scottish Albums (OCC)     #1
  Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)     #30
  UK Albums (OCC)     #1
  US Billboard 200     #83
  US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)     #14
  US Top Current Albums (Billboard)     #80
  US Top Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)     #1
  US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)     #20
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine |||  Score: ****
»  Elbow recorded their sixth album at Real World Studios, making the connection between themselves and Peter Gabriel plain. Much of this connection comes from the husky, subdued rasp of lead singer Guy Garvey, but the band on a whole favors a similar kind of accessible art rock where the textures are lucid yet elliptical while the songs are sturdy and melodic, wearing their accouterments well. This blend helped make 2011's Build a Rocket Boys! into a sizable hit in their native Britain and throughout Europe, but The Take Off and Landing of Everything is better still, demonstrating that the band knows how to seize the spoils of success. This assurance — relaxed and deliberate, confident enough to play up both melodies and cool, echoing abstractions in the production — belies how much of the album was written in the wake of the dissolution of Garvey's long–term romantic relationship, but The Take Off isn't strictly a breakup album. Rather, it's a record of coming to term with middle age, finding that there is a birth that accompanies every death, joy to balance the sorrow, an understanding that comes with acceptance. Garvey conveys these issues in his lyrics but, as a band, Elbow reflect this comfortable reckoning with their own nature, letting sadness creep at the edges but favoring a warm, enveloping melancholy that turns the album into a soundtrack for healing, not wallowing. (http://www.allmusic.com/)
Professional ratings/Aggregate scores:
  Metacritic:     81/100
Review scores:
  AllMusic:     4/5 stars
  Consequence of Sound:     B-
  The Daily Telegraph:     5/5 stars
  Drowned in Sound:     8/10
  The Guardian:     4/5 stars
  Mojo:     4/5 stars
  NME:     6/10
  Pitchfork:     6.2/10
  Q:     5/5 stars
  Slant Magazine:     4/5 stars
|||   Elbow's Guy Garvey may be a sentimentalist, but he wades into the morass of emotion aided by a startlingly clear melodic vision and articulate lyrics, refusing to outsource his earnestness to musical clichés, like swelling cellos and hooky, anthemic choruses. Not that The Take Off and Landing of Everything, the band's sixth album, is short on either cellos or choruses, but they never function as placeholders or shortcuts to emotional immediacy. Despite recording parts of the album in the middle of a breakup, Garvey takes the long way round, getting to slightly sloshed musings on love, the universe, and everything by way of "a bottle of good Irish whiskey" and local details, like his description of "the gentle lunette at the top of the nape of the neck that I wake to" in "Fly Boy Blue/Lunette."
|||   The mostly sedate, prog–rock–influenced band continues to stay firmly British in their influences, channeling both the hazy, complex textures of early Genesis and the electronic adventures of Radiohead. The workings of the songs never stage themselves as clever or experimental, but the extended playing time of many of the tracks allows for interlocking parts to unfold in varied, sometimes surprising, directions. "Fly Boy Blue/Lunette" deconstructs Garvey's slinky, double–tracked delivery midway through with a maniacal guitar lick and a squealing horn section, and opener "This Blue World" withholds its payoff until five minutes into the song, when Garvey pushes his baritone into a gorgeous variation on the melody, like a heavy plane coming off a runway.
|||   Amid 10–cent words like "profligate" and "apothecary," the album creates its own gentle web of reference, using the images of angels, flight, blue skies, and oceans across multiple tracks. The trans–Atlantic images are partly metaphorical, partly autobiographical, since "New York Morning," a paean to the city, was ostensibly penned while Garvey was in Manhattan's Moonstruck dinner. Perhaps too much under the city's sway, the song quickly succumbs to bathos: "Oh, my giddy aunt, New York can talk/It's the modern Rome where folks are nice to Yoko." When Garvey moves the drama back to his usual greater Manchester habitat, he fares far better. The grimy organ and driving rhythm of "Charge" lends the pub grouse of a middle–aged drinker realizing his own dispensability a melodramatic gravitas, depicted with bitter wit: "Glory be/These fuckers are ignoring me/I'm from another century." Depictions of drinking provide a kind of barometer for aging, from the soured, lonely hedonism of "Charge" to the melancholy, ruminative friendships of "My Sad Captains," titled after a line from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra: "Another sunrise with my sad captains/With who I choose to lose my mind." The Take Off and Landing of Everything gives us mostly familiar surroundings, but it makes for fine company. (http://www.slantmagazine.com/)
By Doug Gallant ||| Published on March 15, 2014 ||| Score: 4/5 stars
|||   New CD rich with intelligent, well–crafted pop songs covers a range of subject matter, from personal and political to simply observational
Three years after releasing its critically acclaimed Build a Rocket Boys! record, elbow has returned with yet another collection of intelligent, well–crafted pop songs with wickedly good lyrics and some very engaging melodies.
|||   The Take Off and Landing of Everything features 10 new songs from the Manchester–based band, which 20 years down the road still features the same five guys who started out together, which seems to be something of an anomaly in pop music these days.
|||   The band’s sixth studio album was recorded, in part, at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Wiltshire and, in part, at studios in Manchester and New York, where vocalist Guy Garvey now has a second home.
|||   Keyboard player Craig Potter served as primary producer for the record which, like its predecessors, leans toward prog/rock but also draws inspiration from other more edgy, more alternative sources.
|||   For The Take Off and Landing of Everything, the band took a slightly different approach than they did with its previous efforts in terms of the way the writing happened for the album.
|||   In the past, most of the songs that ended up on their records were total band collaborations with every member of the band contributing during the rehearsal process to ideas one of them might have brought in.
For this record, individual band members brought in songs they had essentially created and completed on their own or created in collaboration with one or two other band members.
|||   Potter, for example, penned Honey Sun, while Colour Fields was penned mostly by bass player Pete Turner using iPad apps.
Fly Boy Blue + Lunette is the joint creative outpouring of Turner, Potter and drummer Richard Jupp.
|||   The songs on this record cover a range of subject matter, some personal, some political, some simply observational.
|||   The Blanket of Night was written about illegal immigrants, afloat at sea, attempting to enter a better country.
|||   My Sad Captains is a song lamenting the loss of friends.
The title track deals with lost loves and the way people deal with the complexities of human relationships.
|||   Charge is about a man in a bar who has difficulty coming to terms with the fact he’s getting older and that the younger patrons in the bar don’t seem to notice he’s alive, let along sharing the same watering hole.
|||   Garvey has said the writing of this record was influenced and informed by a number of things, not the least of which was his decision to purchase a home in New York (Brooklyn to be specific) where he has been exposed to a number of different influences.
|||   “Add to that some of the big and little, positive and negative, life experiences that any group of men approaching 40 can expect, and the result is an initially dense but, we think, rewarding listen,” Garvey said.
|||   The band was aided and abetted in the recording of the album by the much-heralded Hallé Orchestra, which Garvey has lovingly described as Manchester’s oldest band, as well as by an accomplished horn section and the Doves’ Jimi Goodwin, who added backing vocals.
|||   At home in the U.K. where it is still the only band to score four consecutive 9/10 album reviews in NME (the New Musical Express), elbow has won the prestigious Mercury Award, several BRIT Awards and Ivor Novello awards, as well as penned the BBC theme song for the London Olympics.
|||   The band has not yet achieved household name status in North America and The Take Off and Landing of Everything likely won’t dramatically change that, but hopefully it will help the band continue to grow its audience here.
|||   If you like accessible, well–crafted pop songs with intelligent lyrics, great melodies, solid harmonies and interesting twists and turns, this could be an album for you.
|||   For me this is one of those records best enjoyed while being swallowed by a giant armchair: wonderful atmospherics and high production values.
Choice cuts here include My Sad Captains, This Blue World, New York Morning, Colour Fields and the title track.
Notes: Doug Gallant, a reporter with The Guardian, writes his music review column for The Guardian every week. He welcomes comments from readers at or 629-6000, ext. 6057.
Fortaken: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/ (Charlottetown, Canada)

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