12 Songs, 1 Hour 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elbow’s Mercury Prize-nominated debut offers both the comfort of the familiar and the thrill of the new. Singer Guy Garvey’s voice is husky and worn, evoking the intimacy and empathy of a more soulful Peter Gabriel, but the sprawling, unsettling drama of Elbow’s music feels powerful and fresh. The layered vocals, haunted organs and hypnotic, spare construct of opener “Any Day Now” are clear signs that something a bit different is afoot here. The somber, manipulated strings and atmospherics of “Red” cast a bewitching pall, and by the end of the spindly, downbeat third track, “Little Beast,” one wonders if “rock” is the right label for this British band; most of the songs move slowly, their intricate details unfolding with stately purpose. Using vocal tracks as instruments, shading songs with stretched guitar notes, ghostly piano, and stark, echo-drenched percussion, and shattering subdued moments with bristling eruptions, Elbow clearly have a grasp of using the artful component of rock music to create something related, but removed. Asleep In the Back is a startlingly mature, meticulously crafted piece of work that will hold up well for years.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Elbow’s Mercury Prize-nominated debut offers both the comfort of the familiar and the thrill of the new. Singer Guy Garvey’s voice is husky and worn, evoking the intimacy and empathy of a more soulful Peter Gabriel, but the sprawling, unsettling drama of Elbow’s music feels powerful and fresh. The layered vocals, haunted organs and hypnotic, spare construct of opener “Any Day Now” are clear signs that something a bit different is afoot here. The somber, manipulated strings and atmospherics of “Red” cast a bewitching pall, and by the end of the spindly, downbeat third track, “Little Beast,” one wonders if “rock” is the right label for this British band; most of the songs move slowly, their intricate details unfolding with stately purpose. Using vocal tracks as instruments, shading songs with stretched guitar notes, ghostly piano, and stark, echo-drenched percussion, and shattering subdued moments with bristling eruptions, Elbow clearly have a grasp of using the artful component of rock music to create something related, but removed. Asleep In the Back is a startlingly mature, meticulously crafted piece of work that will hold up well for years.

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