Sel­dom Seen Kid Fiction

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews - BRIAN BOYD

Para­dox­i­cally, El­bow have pulled off a bleakly up­lift­ing album on their fourth full-length re­lease. It’s a more lus­cious and var­ied af­fair than its pre­de­ces­sors, and you won’t hear a bet­ter song than the opener, Star­lings, which comes across like a turbo-charged Mer­cury Rev. Else­where, the qual­ity con­trol doesn’t wa­ver for a sin­gle beat, with the riff-heavy Grounds for Di­vorce be­ing just one of many high­lights. The be­guil­ingly woozy Au­di­ence with the Pope and the beau­ti­fully brood­ing bal­lad that is Lone­li­ness of a Tower Crane Driver speak of a band who are hit­ting a new creative stride and flex­ing pre­vi­ously dor­mant mus­cles. Richard Haw­ley drops in for the skewed cabaret of Fix, and the som­bre closer Friend of Ours is al­most neo-classical in its in­tri­cate ar­range­ment. A stun­ning col­lec­tion which dou­bles as a mas­ter class in how to ex­e­cute evoca­tive mu­sic. Down­load tracks: Star­lings, Au­di­ence with the Pope, Friend of Ours

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