As a long time fan of British rock, I’ve always known there was a difference between the music scenes of Scotland, Ireland, and England and those here in North America. I had long imagined and romanticized that everyone over there listened to the same music I loved and other stuff I hadn’t yet heard because I knew that my favourite bands that I saw in tiny clubs in Toronto played to much larger crowds in much larger venues all over their native countries. However, my friends Tim and Mark, after spending a few years living and working in London shortly after the BritPop explosion, returned to Canada with news that most of the people they encountered listened to the same pop music consumed in North America. Still, they conceded, the radio played a lot of stuff that wasn’t played here and as we already knew, the press was very much different and more involved in exploring indie music.
I’ve gotten to learn more of these differences and similarities since starting in on this blogging gig almost eight years ago and in conversing with fellow bloggers from out that way. What hadn’t occurred to me but probably should have is that some of the bands I listen to that get little to no air play in Canada are so overplayed and overblown in England and as hated or ridiculed as Nickelback might be in some circles here.
And so it apparently is with Elbow, whom I love and have done since I happened upon them since the early 2000s. They’ve graced these pages a few times in the past couple years and comments have been decidedly mixed but leaning more towards the negative. I’ve had to forewarn a certain blogging colleague (I’m looking at you Vinyl Daft Dad) that another Elbow post was coming. But I think I can safely say this might be their last appearance for the foreseeable future.
“With love” is track three off the English rock band’s fifth album, “Build a rocket, boys!”. The album was less melancholy than its predecessors, mining the happier memories of youth for subject matter, but this one has frontman Guy Garvey pleading his case for a friend to join him on a night out for drinks. “I give my liver to see you, abide and ride shotgun. A Bacchian scandal awaits me, just can’t do it alone. Your sweetheart probably hates me, but I’ll send you home your dome filled up – with love.” To help Garvey in this Herculean effort, he’s got his bandmates chiming in with a heavy beat and bass accompaniment, ringing guitars and twinkling piano flourishes and encouraging handclaps. The devil has even enlisted the Hallé youth choir to add a big oomph at the chorus, an exclamation mark on the love!
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2011 list, click here.