In the Post #156: Manchester’s Elbow make a spectacular return with ‘Magnificent (She Says)’, from upcoming studio album ‘Little Fictions’

By on Friday, 9th December 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Manchester alt-rock legends Elbow have returned to the music scene in spectacular fashion with an aptly-titled new single ‘Magnificent (She Says)’. The highly-anticipated new track is our first glimpse of Elbow’s forthcoming seventh studio album ‘Little Fictions’, which is due for release in the early part of 2017.

“This is where the bottle lands,” sings frontman Guy Garvey, laying the groundwork for a lyrical stream of consciousness “where a tiny pair of hands finds a sea-worn piece of glass and sets it as a sapphire in her mind.” Garvey’s freely associated lyrical phrases evoke the gauzy image of a young girl standing on a beach, while his bandmates re-create the swell and expanse of the ocean with a dazzling array of grand musical gestures.

As is often the case, Elbow’s orchestration is rich and vivid, with a bit of a retro feel. Warm, round guitar tones and bright keyboards contrast sharply with the angular drama of the full string section. The rhythm section is notably prominent, keeping a steady and urgent pulse under the breadth of sophisticated harmonies and shifting tone colors.

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Talking about the rhythm section inevitably brings us round to the elephant in the room, namely the departure of Elbow’s drummer Richard Jupp earlier this year. Jupp’s deft touch and dynamic sensitivity on the kit arguably helped to define the band’s sound, and the remaining four members (Garvey, guitarist Mark Potter, keyboardist and producer Craig Potter and bass player Pete Turner) haven’t publicly spoken about how they’re dealing with his absence. But they seem to have stood up to the challenge, at least in the context of studio recording, and their customarily strong rhythmic component is certainly felt here.

‘Magnificent (She Says)’ is by turns cordially familiar and crisply refreshing, in classic Elbow fashion. Its lyrics are graceful and poetic, and perfectly paired with the elegant orchestral setting. Despite the rather unwieldy song title, the broad declaration in its eponymous refrain, “It’s all gonna be magnificent, she says / It’s all gonna be magnificent”, might well be seen as an optimistic portent to the remainder of ‘Little Fictions’.

9/10

‘Magnificent (She Says)’ is the first single from Elbow’s seventh LP ‘Little Fictions’. The album is due for release on the 3rd of February 2017 via Polydor/Concord. TGTF’s previous coverage of Elbow is right back here.

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