As Elbow have a wonderful new album out now (read the review here Wind Back Wednesday looks back to their first tour of Australia in 2004 where it was already clear emotion and movement and comfort were going to be the mainstays of this career.
The Metro, March 18
The rather splendid debut album from Manchester’s Elbow was called Asleep In The Back and a more apt title for their music would be hard to find.
In essence Elbow hover in (or create) that not-quite-sharp atmosphere of travelling in the back seat of a car during the wee hours.
It’s then that fog encroaches, movement is continuous but hard to measure, shapes merge and break apart with more suggestion than definition and the lights seem to swirl rather than pierce.
It’s also when your eyes close but you don’t fall completely asleep, letting the play of light, sound and your half-awake mind create scenarios that probably wouldn’t survive the appearance of sunlight.
You could see, or more accurately, feel that in the opening two songs Any Day Now and Red (also the opening songs of that debut). Here what would in other hands be something of a narcotic haze instead became a slowly descending blanket of sound wrapping around you while Guy Garvey’s voice, a little tour-damaged but still holding its built-in sadness, brushed past.
At other times there was almost an English pastoral mood with acoustic guitar and unashamedly pretty interludes.
But movement is never absent from Elbow. In songs such as Fugitive Motel from the second album Cast Of Thousands, drummer Richard Jupp played a forceful and complex rhythm beneath the half-dreaminess of the melody line that reinforced that back of the moving car mood.