Listening again to Elbow’s debut deepens the mystery as to why popular opinion took a further seven years to swing in their favour.
Those who first came to the Bury quintet with their 2008 Mercury Music award might take a while to warm to its darkly textured yearnings and foggy gloom, but there’s nothing here to frighten the natives.
If it’s a more introspective showing of their psychedelic northern soul than subsequent LPs, it also shows that they’ve been channelling Talk Talk, The Verve and Robert Wyatt from day one. There’s proof, too, (eg “Newborn”, “Can’t Stop”) of how effortlessly Elbow surf the tides of musical faddism.
SHARON O’ CONNELL