Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: Dead In The Boot - Elbow

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Album cover for Dead In The Boot by Elbow. Photo / Supplied
Album cover for Dead In The Boot by Elbow. Photo / Supplied

Having established themselves firmly in public favour with their Olympics song First Steps, British rockers Elbow have countered that song's more immediate populism by releasing this 13-track collection of B-sides. Playing off the title of their debut album Asleep in the Back, Dead In The Boot isn't an exhaustive collection, but it's somehow both reflective of the diversity of their output over 10 years while still creating a cohesive new whole.

These tracks are less about rousing a crowd to frenzied singalongs, and more about soft balladeering. They're mostly late night come-down tracks, perfect for the drive home, but they're beautiful in their sombre tone, crafted to show Elbow's talent with texture, and exploit Guy Garvey's best tender, weary voice - sometimes almost at a whisper. If their previous albums are full of anthems, this is a collection of contemplations.

Lucky With Disease embraces some of their earlier Radiohead influence, and Love Blown Down also has that gently swirling, driving quality, but then The Long War Shuffle reminds you of their equally impressive ability to write a swinging rock groove, tinged with the blues and country.

McGreggor is the only live track among them, and it's got a distinctly Grounds For Divorce quality that seems otherwise absent. Fiery, strident, raucous, and perfect to stomp and clap along to if you're feeling a little riled up about something.

Though they won't necessarily be new tracks to die-hard fans, they do make a lovely artful collection, and a great addition to any Elbow catalogue.

Stars: 4.5/5


- NZ Herald

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