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Elbow has yet to make it big in Jap. . . the United States.  I’m not sure why.  Their sensibilities should be perfect for a variety of radio formats here.  But, sadly, Elbow remains generally unknown.  I first came across them because Greg Spawton of Big Big Train recommended Elbow as well as Mew as two of his favorite bands.

Then, of course, Peter Gabriel produced a stunning version of the band’s “Mirrorball.”

Since 2009, I’ve ordered the bands complete catalogue, much to my own personal happiness.  For whatever reasons (and I’m sure there are several, but they remain unexamined; Socrates would not approve), my favorite albums from the band are THE SELDOM SEEN KID and BUILD A ROCKET BOYS!

What’s not to love?  Clever and tasteful pop with some incredibly intricate vocal melodies and often unusual use of traditional rock instruments.  And, ALWAYS, the band performs as if this is the most important thing in the world.  Which, at each moment, is true.

And, this leads me to my questions, stolen from a musical about would-be Austrian nuns who marry into crazily large Catholic families and dance on mountain tops while thumbing their collective nose at the Nazis.  What do we do with a problem like Elbow?

Granted, I have no answer.

I’m sure many lot us eagerly awaited the arrival of the latest album, LITTLE FICTIONS.  But, it’s here, and I’m not sure what do with it.  Yes, the trademark Elbow sound is there–still clever, still sensible, still intricate, and still very much. . . well, Elbow.  But, what’s up with disco beat?  Much more than a 70s disco sound, though, it has the sound of disco mixed with New Wave, as in the music of Erasure or Bronski Beat.

I’ll keep listening and trying to learn. . . but I remain skeptical.