Elbow, What A Band

What makes a particular person’s singing voice great? I was thinking this last night whilst watching Elbow’s recording of “The Seldom Seen Kid” with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Choir. We’ve long been fans of Elbow in L&L Mansions, since seeing them at Reading back in 2001. Guy Garvey, it has to be said, looks like a slightly disgruntled plasterer, but he has a voice quite unlike anyone else around at the moment. It’s suprisingly high for a bloke of his build (ahem), though not quite in Andrew Montgomery territory. It’s got a lovely Mancunian lilt to it, adding character, plus he has a very slight lisp, adding texture. And it helps that’s he’s a deft lyricist.

Take, for example, the opening lines to “Starlings”, the opening song of their last album. “How dare the Premier ignore my invitations?/He’ll have to go/So, too, the bunch he luncheons with/It’s second on my list of things to do/At the top I’m stopping by/Your place of work and acting like/I haven’t dreamed of you and I/And marriage in an orange grove”. Just look at the rhythm in the line “So, too, the bunch he luncheons with”, with the rhyme of bunch and luncheon. It’s breathed as much as it’s sung, and as the song builds to a crescendo as he describes falling in love as “I’m spinning and I’m diving like a cloud of starlings”. Wonderful stuff. Follow the link above to listen to the BBC version, and see the MP3 below.

Anyway, watching them last night made me remember what a lovely band they are, and how it’s been great to see them develop into a band that’ll be playing Wemberley Arena in March. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch.

And the guitarist plays a Godin which is the sign of a gentleman and a scholar.

Starlings by Elbow

It’s Too Cold For A 0-0

Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem to be worth sitting around for two hours watching a bunch of professional footballers hoof about fruitlessly for ninety minutes in the freezing cold. It took till around Earl’s Court tube before I got proper feeling back in my fingers. I really don’t know why I bother sometimes. There’s something quite wrong with this current Arsenal team and the home support seems to feel it too. Just about the loudest song was for Robin Van Pershie, who wasn’t even on the pitch at the time. There’s none of the old Arsenal bloody-mindedness we used to see, going right back to the late-80’s (and even against Man U in the classic 1979 FA Cup Final). God, if this lot got to the stage where they needed to score a goal in the last minute to win the league or a Cup Final, you’d just know that Wenger would put on Song and we’d end up conceding two more goals. There’s just not that will to win that we need to get anything out of this season. I predict a Cardiff win on Tuesday.

What’s worse, the away fans, as ever, seemed to treat this as a victory. Yeah, even Hull beat us at home, you eedjits. Drawing at Ashburton Grove is easy these days, just put 10 men behind the ball and stick a boot in now and again and you’ll leave with at least a point.

Anyway, the usual top draw blog from Arseblog.

And in other news, it’s snowing. If we get a good snowfall I might have to take my snowboard to Richmond Park in the morning.

And the housing boom in the US over the last few years may have some serious health consequences. What is in the drywall?