“The dream again nobody understands
Walking through the long grass on your hands
It’s not a job to do today
Sleep it off.”
I think anyone with even half a brain cell is aware of Elbow and just how wonderful they are. I was a fan for some time, but shut off my interest when someone I used to know was a huge fan and of course, as is the way, didn’t turn out to be that nice. Maybe they’ve changed now. I can only hope because I like to try see the good in people.
In an ideal world I wouldn’t be writing this at 5.45am on a Sunday. I should be asleep. My neighbour came home an hour ago, and has decided to shout and play really bad dance music. Attempting to listen to Elbow with a really awful and irritating bass line in the background is proving to be a bit of a challenge, but nothing in life is ever easy.
Initially I was going to write about their new record, The Take Off And Landing Of Everything but I feel the need to try go deep into their career and what they mean to me. Hopefully I won’t fall asleep on my laptop. Although, I’d really love to sleep right now.
It’s an unwritten fact that bands from the North of England express certain feelings better than other bands from the rest of England. The North is looked down upon for many reasons, I blame Thatcher. But the North of England has so much to offer, it’s just easy to mock it. The architecture in Manchester is beautiful, Yorkshire has glorious countryside. You can find beauty almost everywhere. It is also home to some of the greatest writers of all time; Morrissey, John Cooper Clarke, Mark E Smith, Ian Brown and obviously, Guy Garvey.
If I could remember the first time I heard Elbow and Guy Garvey’s soothing voice, this may be more interesting. Sorry about that. Pin pointing what it is I love about Elbow is really easy- Guy’s lyrics. If you want to hear someone truly pour their heart out in a way that is just so open and vulnerable, then just listen to their lyrics. Or even, read them. Guy’s lyrics read like heartbreaking poetry that were designed to comfort and heal. Their music expresses every good and bad side of being in love, being a failure to yourself, disappointing others and being ashamed of any hurt you’ve ever caused someone. They say the things you don’t have the guts to say just yet, but you feel it. And to feel it is a start. You have to take baby steps sometimes, because it is all you have.
What I love about Elbow is their struggle to get a record deal and to be heard; they’re the underdogs but not in a way that causes you to pity them. If anything, it just makes you believe in their music more than you already do. I guess it’s easy for me to love them, because I can relate all of this to my daily battle with attempting to get a job. I feel like I am fighting a losing battle, and fully aware that at aged 27- I’ve really not amounted to much. The only person to blame is myself, and I make sure I am aware of it. Elbow’s music soften the daily blow of it all, and kind of make me less ashamed with carrying the burden around of being a burden. Maybe I’ve gone far too deep into their music with this, but if I don’t get to the core of it and take myself with it- I wouldn’t be writing this, or anything for that matter.
When people talk about their favourite band or just a band they love, you can see in their eyes that they are trying to find the right words and they try to go back to the first time they heard them, so they can capture it all for you. Sometimes we cannot do it, so a load of rubbish pours from our mouths. Or in my cases, hits the keyboard. When your mind turns into a state of chaos when trying to think of the reasons, that’s when you know the band mean a lot. I’ve never seen Elbow live, but I’ve watched live clips and to see how people react to them is just something else. There is a bond between them and the fans that is truly moving. I think it all goes back to knowing how hard they have worked to get where they are now.
Their signature sound is atmospheric and soothing. Guy’s gentle and vulnerable voice evokes so much emotion as you listen to them. There aren’t many bands that can instantly turn me into a crying mess, but Elbow are easily one of them. I can’t really think of anyone else off the top of my head who does that, but I’m sure there are others. There always is. But none do it quite like Elbow. Guy writes songs in a way I wish I could, and probably how most wish they could. He writes about his faults and the things he’s done that he’s not proud of in a way that makes you own up to your own errors, but you don’t beat yourself up too badly about it. His words on daily life just speak to you. They speak so loudly and oh so clear. The way he describes love; not just in a romantic way but towards friends and family is just something else. He makes you want to hug those you love so tightly and to just let them know that you love them.
At the moment Picky Bugger and Not A Job are the two songs I really cannot do without. They are the two songs that sum up everything right now. Sometimes you hear a song and think, “I’d be lost without that.” That’s what Elbow do, especially with those two songs. There is something about them that just describe what the mouth can’t get out from the brain. We all need songs like this. Then you have songs like The Bones Of You that describe love like no other has ever done really. Play it to the one you love, the one you cannot do without. Don’t say a word to them, let Guy do the talking.
Elbow are the guts you don’t have just yet. They are the comforting words you need when everything is just really awful, like you have no way out. They’re the kind of band you wish you could tell them just how much they mean to you, but the best you can do is something like this. However, it is a start and I know I’m not the only one who loves them like this. I know I’ve missed so many things out, and there is so much more I could say about Elbow. Maybe I will another time, but for now- I think this is more than enough. And if you want to fall in love with Guy’s record collection and speaking voice, then listen to his show on BBC 6 Music every Sunday.
“You little sod, I love your eyes.”