Elbow are set to release their eighth studio album on 11 October 2019. Giants of All Sizes was recorded at Hamburg’s Clouds Hill Studio, The Dairy in Brixton, 604 Studios in Vancouver and Blueprint Studios in Salford with additional recording taking place at various band member’s home studios spread across Manchester. As with their previous four studio albums, Giants… was produced and mixed by keyboard player Craig Potter. Guests across the album include Jesca Hoop, The Plumedores and South London newcomer Chilli Chilton.
Lead singer and lyricist Guy Garvey describes the album as “an angry, old blue lament which finds its salvation in family, friends, the band and new life.” It is a record that lyrically takes in moments of deep personal loss whilst reflecting its times by confronting head-on the spectres of injustice and division not just in the UK but across the world. It is a record that could only have been made in the 21st Century.
Given such bleak, if ultimately redeemed, subject matter, it is also, perversely, the most relaxed record which Elbow have made in some time. On Giants of All Sizes, each band member extended their usual process of working on demos alone and followed their vision to its conclusion rather than, as Craig Potter puts it, “taking the edges off things to find compromise’. In tandem with this, they returned to playing live in the studio, encouraged to experiment with the banks of analogue equipment at Clouds Hill in Northern Germany, giving songs a looser, more live feel.
The result is a starkly dynamic record, which Garvey describes as “Sonically unabashed”. Whilst album closer ‘Weightless’ has the gossamer melodies and communal harmonies for which the band have latterly been known, this album echoes earlier elbow work at times whilst also breaking new ground.
Elsewhere, advance notices describe ‘White Noise White Heat’ as “motorik, metal machine soul driven by a vocal that is rage incarnate”, ‘Doldrums’” mixes John Carpenter with The Plastic Ono Band to brilliantly disturbing effect” and ‘On Deronda Road’ “hitches stark bass beats and glitches to an ad-hoc choir” ‘Empires’ delivers “dark resignation via an insidious melody” and ‘The Delayed 3:15’ “marries mariarchi guitars to jazz dynamics, Ennio Morricone via Buddy Rich, and ‘My Trouble’ is “a clockwork, analogue shuffle housing a delicate melody that builds over the course of the song into a fragile monolith to the power of love.”
Lead track, ‘Dexter & Sinister’, released on 10” ahead of the album, is said to “encapsulate the whole. A seven-minute musical journey that blends deep bass grooves, sudden keyboard stabs, dislocated piano and guitar runs and soul stylings then abruptly shifts gear.”
Giants Of All Sizes is out on 11 October. Scroll down to read the full tracklisting and buy it here.
Giants Of All Sizes:
‘Dexter And Sinister’
‘The Delayed 3.15’
‘White Noise White Heat’
‘On Deronda Road’