return in March with their fourth studio album, The Seldom Seen Kid. Recorded by the band at their own facility within Salfords Blueprint Studios, The Elbow
Room, and produced by keyboard player, Craig Potter, the album is the follow up to 2005s universally acclaimed Leaders Of The Free World. The album also sees the band start a new relationship with Fiction Records.The lyrical core of The Seldom Seen Kid sees Guy Garvey address the key questions of life. Thus, over the 11 tracks the big themes of love and loss become the central focus of an album that sees Elbow, a band universally recognised for their musical ability and innovation, stretch their sonic template further than ever before. With band members now fathers of young children this is an unashamedly grown up record from a band that can rightfully claim status as elder statesmen of the UK music scene. In a climate where the track could be regarded as king this is also very much an album, designed and envisaged to be listened to as a whole.Elbows progress to this point has been less than smooth, the band being together since 1991 and, as has been documented, suffering a false start to their career before a succession of rapturously received independent EPs in the form of Noisebox, Newborn and Any Day Now led to the release of debut album Asleep In The Back (and subsequent Mercury and Brit nominations) in 2001. A band keen to consistently challenge their listeners both lyrically and musically, Elbows progress from that point has seen them switch genres and accommodate overtly political and emotionally bare lyricism across their formidable back catalogue.The Seldom Seen Kid continues in that tradition. So we move from the sparse electronic of Starlings through the flamenco influenced The Bones Of You to the Zepellinesque rock of first single Grounds For Divorce where Garveys gallows humour shines in the opening couplet of Ive been working on a cocktail / Called grounds for divorce. Album centrepiece, The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver melds Elbows musical ability to create epic heartfelt soundtracks with Guys knack of making the personal universal, telling the story of a boastful tower crane operator revealing the inner misery of his life in a discussion of the hollow centre of many outwardly successful lives. Elbows ability to deliver a knock out ballad is, as with previous albums, very much in evidence on the gorgeous Mirrorball and the sunny cousin to Asleep In The Backs Any Day Now that is One Day Like This. The Fix denotes a substantial change of mood, being the first duet on an Elbow album, Richard Hawley joining Guy for a Bacharach like story of two hustlers planning their rosy future. Friend Of Ours closes the album in a tribute to the Seldom Seen Kid of the title, Bryan Glancy, Manchester songwriter and sadly missed friend of Elbow who died in 2007 with a delicacy and honesty that is a consistent hallmark of the band. The Seldom Seen Kid is released by Fiction Records on 17th March 2008.