Back in Prog 38, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey boldly told us that the band’s sixth album was “probably going to be our most progressive album.” Of course, such statements are relative, and no one in their right mind was expecting the Mancunian quintet to go delivering Gates Of Delirium. This being prog however, there’s sure to be a few among our readership who have already scoffed at seeing Elbow’s very name in this magazine.
But there’s certainly enough moments of progressive grandeur on display here to warrant its inclusion in our reviews pages. And although things start sombrely enough with This Blue World (which is unsurprising as it details the split between Garvey and his former girlfriend), the singer’s Gabriel-esque vocals are soon drawing the listener into the more intriguing Charge, resplendent with soaring, Hallé Orchestra strings, and Fly Boy Blue/Lunette.
The band do seem to lose their footing somewhat mid-way, around Real Life (Angel) and Honey Sun, before steadying themselves with the epic and morose My Sad Captains, and finally they soar with the title track and moody The Blanket Of Night, the two most progressive pieces here.