In a parallel universe, the likes of Coldplay and Keane are touring University Unions, and Guy Garvey is the one with the Hollywood actress wife, whilst his band sits proudly atop the bill at Glastonbury. This latest record had been touted as the one which would finally break them through, and it's difficult to see why that hasn't really happened. Elbow deal in passionate, epic rock, and they seem to have nearly perfected their formula on "The Seldom Seen Kid". Some of the songs are simply breathtaking - "One Day Like This", which is decorated with piano chords which twinkle beautifully, and "The Bones Of You" which is just joyous. Guy Garvey sings soulfully about love and longing, and the highs on this record are dizzying.
There are criticisms though. Often on this record, the band can over-do the histrionics, and a few songs come across as laboured and overly long, such as "The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver", which lasts just over 5 minutes but feels a lot longer. They would also benefit from having more songs such as the lead single - "Grounds For Divorce" - which gets rid of the bluster and is the only song which sees Elbow 'rocking out', and is hence the album highlight.
These are only small gripes though, and as a proper album, to be listened to from start to finish, you will be hard pressed to find a much more accomplished work this year.