The Take Off and Landing of Everything

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Elbow recorded their sixth album at Real World Studios, making the connection between themselves and Peter Gabriel plain. Much of this connection comes from the husky, subdued rasp of lead singer Guy Garvey, but the band on a whole favors a similar kind of accessible art rock where the textures are lucid yet elliptical while the songs are sturdy and melodic, wearing their accouterments well. This blend helped make 2011's Build a Rocket Boys! into a sizable hit in their native Britain and throughout Europe, but The Take Off and Landing of Everything is better still, demonstrating that the band knows how to seize the spoils of success. This assurance -- relaxed and deliberate, confident enough to play up both melodies and cool, echoing abstractions in the production -- belies how much of the album was written in the wake of the dissolution of Garvey's long-term romantic relationship, but The Take Off isn't strictly a breakup album. Rather, it's a record of coming to term with middle age, finding that there is a birth that accompanies every death, joy to balance the sorrow, an understanding that comes with acceptance. Garvey conveys these issues in his lyrics but, as a band, Elbow reflect this comfortable reckoning with their own nature, letting sadness creep at the edges but favoring a warm, enveloping melancholy that turns the album into a soundtrack for healing, not wallowing.

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