Elbow, Audio Vertigo Review


Elbow, Audio Vertigo Review

by Constance Tucker

Elbow-Sound-AAV-cdElbow’s latest musical voyage, Audio Vertigo, marking their tenth studio effort, captures the essence of Elbow’s evolution, a journey that began in the hallowed halls of Migration Studios in Gloucestershire, continued through The Dairy in London, and reached its zenith at Blueprint Studios in Salford. The detailed production process reflects a band in control of their artistry, delving into rock roots while embracing the boundless landscapes of post-rock and indie elements.

Fronting Elbow is vocalist Guy Garvey, and his compelling singing remains the gravitational center around which the album orbits. Garvey’s voice, characterized by its earthy timbre and Manchester accent, brings authenticity and emotional depth to the album. His ability to weave homespun aphorisms with surreal poeticism into the songs’ fabric adds a rich, textual layer to the listening experience. The vocal arrangements across the album – from the resonant backing choirs to the intricate harmonies – showcase a band that values the power of the human voice as an instrument of pure expression.

“Things I’ve Been Telling Myself for Years” has excellent vocal harmonies and backing vocal arrangement. The song features a captivating ensemble of female backing vocals that complements Garvey’s lead and elevates the track to a celestial plane. The interplay between these voices and Garvey’s nuanced delivery sets a high bar for vocal excellence within the rock genre.

“Very Heaven” further exemplifies the use of vocal textures through its layered vocals over a catchy bassline, creating a soundscape that pulls you into the Elbow’s sonic world. The chorus, in particular, showcases Garvey’s vocal range and ability to express emotions through subtle articulations and dynamic phrasing. This track encapsulates the essence of Elbow’s sound: a blend of the familiar and the transcendent, anchored by the strength of vocal harmony.

“From the River” rounds out this vocal trifecta with its clear diction and storytelling prowess. Garvey’s singing style, marked by distinctive inflections and a keen sense of rhythm, breathes life into each verse. The background vocals and harmonies add layers of complexity, making this track a rich expression of sound that invites listeners to explore every nuance.

Beyond the vocals, Audio Vertigo distinguishes itself through its instrumentation and songwriting. Mark Potter’s guitar work, alongside the rhythmic foundation laid down by the drums and bass, creates a dynamic that oscillates between restraint and exuberance. Including keyboards, horns, and even a gospel choir on tracks like “Lovers Leap” demonstrates Elbow’s willingness to experiment and push the boundaries of their sound.

Audio Vertigo is a fun listen, primarily through the lens of Guy Garvey’s distinctive vocal delivery and the band’s sophisticated musical arrangements. It’s a work that fans of Elbow will enjoy and is a compelling entry point for new listeners.


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