Review: Little Fictions by Elbow

Little Fictions by ElbowFor the past few years or so Elbow have settled down into the role of Britain’s National Treasure: a band that have worked hard to get the recognition they now get, thanks to their ability to wax poetically about stories of the common man in the most irresistibly sweeping way possible. Their breakout “One Day Like This” unknowingly set the template, and a few albums later, we know what to expect from them. Of course, the downside to Little Fictions is the feeling that they’re resting on their laurels too much. I’m not even a long-time fan – I’ll admit to being really turned on to the band because of The Seldom Seen Kid – and I find myself yearning for the variety of their earlier albums, or at least the drunken euphoria of “Grounds for Divorce”. Little Fictions continues on their tried-and-tested formula, with some added clubbiness to it – the departure of drummer Richard Jupp has necessitated a different approach to their percussion, now loopy and a bit four-on-the-floor. But no, this is not their dance record: it’s Guy Garvey’s familiar croon, wizened and world-weary at times, but still able to see hope in some horizon, couples with some thoughtful textures and well-timed orchestral flourishes. But aside from the quick-hit of the carrier single “Magnificent (She Says)”, the album seems content with where it struck gold. Little Fictions is the third album since their breakout, and you just know they can do more. [NB]3/5

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