Review: Courting the Squall by Guy Garvey

Courting the Squall by Guy GarveyCourting the Squall might as well be called Guy Garvey Unleashed. The first solo record from the Elbow frontman sees an inevitable breaking out from that band’s template, which, while fascinating in itself, can be limiting in its elegiac, mostly gentle nature. Yes, we’ve heard Elbow get amped up – Leaders of the Free World, their 2005 record, had the best examples – but there’s an irresistible energy around this collection, an excitement that Guy can’t quite contain despite trying his best to be proper. (And by “proper” I mean “much like Elbow”.) The record still spirals into beautiful territory, but the details – a jazzy clatter on “Angela’s Eyes”, a kundiman-esque twinkle on “Juggernaut”, a classical magnificence in “Yesterday” – are reminiscent of the satisfying feeling you get with a good blues record. And yet it all sounds so familiar, so warm and comforting and charming, which has to be the biggest tip-toe of them all. [NB]4/5


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