Indie favourites Elbow are back with their sixth album and according to their lead singer they are very much keeping it real.
According to Guy Garvey, the likeable, everyday frontman of the popular five piece band, what sets them apart and draws people to them is the genuine emotion throughout their work.
Their new album, ‘The Take Off And Landing Of Everything’ hit the shelves earlier this week, and once again it’s a deeply personal and engaging look at the human condition.
It has had something of a makeover since its inception. The band,which also includes Mark Potter, Craig Potter, Richard Jupp and Pete Turner, haven’t had a proper break since they began 23 years ago in Bury, and after writing and recording they took six months off.
Garvey headed to New York with his then-girlfriend the journalist Emma Jane Unsworth and worked with The Avalanches and Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja on a stage musical of ‘King Kong’.
Later that year the couple split, the show was lightly panned by critics and Garvey returned to England, reconvened the band and finished what they started. Albeit with no song left unchanged by the experience.
“Sometimes you don’t know what you’re writing about, especially if you don’t know where you’re at with something personal,” he says. “I was at the end of a very important relationship with a very dear girl, and only when we decided we didn’t want to be together anymore did things become clear, as sad as that was.
“I’d be more than happy lying to you, but you’d be able to tell,” he says. “In song too. People can tell when I’m faking it.”
This became apparent in the Guardian review of their 2001 debut ‘Asleep At The Back’ when the critic questioned the authenticity of the detail in the track ‘Red’.
“That journalist was absolutely right, and as much as I still love it, I had exaggerated my feelings for the purpose of the song and thrown more paraffin on the fire than was necessary.
“I had a very real moment then where I realised not only were people going to listen to the lyrics and draw conclusions about me, they were also going to know whether I was bluffing or not. And I haven’t done it since. I can’t.”
This raw honesty is what the fans love about Elbow, their connection makes people believe and identify with them.
“As for me having some ‘poet’s spirit’,” he adds, “the point is, everyone has a poetic side. Everyone has a keen turn of phrase and a kind word, if they look for it. It’s just about knowing how to find it when you need it.”