The Take Off And Landing of Everything is elbow’s sixth studio album. Following on from the platinum selling build a rocket boys! and the million copy selling The Seldom Seen Kid, Guy and the gang had a hard act to follow. This album was created in a different way to their previous releases, with certain members of the band working alone or in smaller sub-groups to head up the writing of certain tracks. It’s a record that features much new musical content, yet still contains features of the sound that long time fans have grown to love over the band’s impressive 17 year career.
The first single, ‘New York Morning’ is the centerpiece and the strongest track on the album. With jittering riffs and a huge anthemic chorus, this is a single in like ‘One Day Like This’ or ‘Open Arms’, a huge song that will become a fan favourite. Album opener ‘This Blue World’ is another memorable track with it’s dramatic string arrangement and soaring choruses, this is a stellar opening track.
One thing that really stands out on this record is the instrumental arrangements. ‘My Sad Captains’ is a perfect example of this, with gorgeous brass arrangements coupled with glittering synthesizer lines and a huge array of different guitar tones. Elbow are not only experts at song writing, but also instrumental arrangement and choosing timbre to compliment the lyrics.
Although the album is strong, and easy to listen to, I can’t help but feel there is something missing. I was disappointed they didn’t put in a slightly grittier track (not a word that is often used to describe elbow I know) like ‘Grounds For Divorce’ (from elbow’s fourth album, The Seldom Seen Kid). ‘Grounds For Divorce’ proved that elbow could produce rockier music with more bite, and this was something that The Take Off And Landing Of Everything was desperately missing. The album, although it creates a stunning soundscape and is expertly produced, verges on boring, with many of the tracks sounding similar and just blending into one. It’s not that these tracks are bad or poorly written, just far too alike to be interesting.
That being said, this was a solid effort from elbow, with them doing what they do best. Although not as strong as other releases, this is a record that elbow fans will adore.
The Take Off and Landing of Everything is out now on Fiction