My introduction to Elbow’s new LP, Little Fictions, has followed a familiar pattern to previous new output from one of my very favourite bands. On first listen I was a little underwhelmed, but a couple of tracks stood out and pulled me back for an instant second listen. That was enough to make me give the whole album another outing and so the subtleties of the compositions and the Guy Garvey’s sparkling lyrics begin emerge a little more clearly. Two weeks and countless repeat listens later and it is already on the markontour modern classics list.
What captured me instantly was the life affirming exuberence of ‘Magnificent (She Says)’, along with the catchy ‘All Disco’, which is probably already an earworm for other Radio 6 regulars. And the last track, ‘Kindling’, follows a fine Elbow tradition of putting the best song near the end of the album. Rattling back across continental Europe on an ICE train I am currently entranced by the verse “The silence and the waiting / And the rush of all aboard / Fifty souls to a carriage / I’m trying hard to be ignored / Then my telephone shakes into life / And I see your name / And the wheat fields explode into gold either side of the train“.
But each listen reveals a little more in the rest of the album. I guess it is a testament to the depth of Elbow’s music that its beauty isn’t always immediately apparent. Or perhaps this listener is just too dense, or distracted, to get it on first outing. Whatever, Little Fictions is definitely a grower. Some bands really do get better with age, just like all Elbow albums.