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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.
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’.
‘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.
London alt-rock quartet Palace will spend almost the entire month of April 2017 on tour in the UK and Ireland in support of their recent debut album release ‘So Long Forever’. The album’s current single is called ‘It’s Over’, and its promo video is streaming just below the tour date listing.
Before their long list of UK live dates, Palace will spend the last part of March touring in continental Europe; you can find a full list of Palace’s upcoming shows on their official Facebook. Tickets for the following shows are available now. TGTF’s previous coverage of Palace is collected back here.
Monday 3rd April 2017 – Leicester Cookie
Tuesday 4th April 2017 – Nottingham Bodega
Wednesday 5th April 2017 – Sheffield Harley
Thursday 6th April 2017 – Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
Friday 7th April 2017 – Newcastle Cluny 2
Saturday 8th April 2017 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Monday 10th April 2017 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Tuesday 11th April 2017 – Liverpool Buyers Club
Wednesday 12th April 2017 – Dublin Whelan’s
Thursday 13th April 2017 – Belfast Voodoo
Tuesday 18th April 2017 – Birmingham Institute 3
Wednesday 19th April 2017 – Bristol Thekla
Thursday 20th April 2017 – Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
Friday 21st April 2017– Oxford Bullingdon
Tuesday 25th April 2017 – Guildford Boileroom
Wednesday 26th April 2017 – Reading South Street Arts Centre
Thursday 27th April 2017 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 8th December 2016 at 6:00 pm
Psych rockers TOY completed a UK last week to support LP ‘Clear Shot’. Released in October on Heavenly Recordings and produced by David Wrench at the end of 2015, their new album – their third – now has another music video to its name. As what feels like Heavenly’s usual M.O. (think Hooton Tennis Club, The Parrots), ‘Another Dimension’ is a hazy, woozy affair passing you by, with plenty of shots of the long-haired band. (What else would you expect from a psych band?) For more on London band TOY on TGTF, go here.
Irish math pop band Enemies have made their name with poppy guitar hooks, meandering yet recognisable melodies and light-hearted harmony to the math rock genre. On their 2013 release ‘Embark, Embrace’, they showcased all of the above perfectly. Some tracks even included two simultaneous drum tracks.
It’s no secret that they are set to split after a career spanning 10 years and after the release of their third studio album. In sight of this, the foursome have released four singles from their anticipated final album ‘Valuables’. The latest of these offerings is ‘Glow’, which includes guest vocals from Louise Gaffney.
Following a series of hard times and setbacks both musically and personally within the band over the years following ‘Embark, Embrace’, Enemies wrote in their own press release that ‘Valuables’ would be written for the enjoyment and pleasure of themselves, taking away the pressure of expectations. Single ‘Glow’ represents this beautifully. The track flows for 5 minutes with no significant signs of progression. It seems to capture and hold the listener in a dreamlike state for the duration. To hold your interest, Enemies purposely step away from using catchy guitar hooks, sudden changes and heavy riffs. Instead, they utilise a soothing wash of delightful harmonies with a soft but steady backbeat to provide the strongest foundation possible for Gaffney of Dublin’s own Come On, Live Long to sprinkle her sublime vocals over.
Although the harmony and chords chosen are classic Enemies, and the shared guitar work between Lewis Jackson and Eoin Whitfield is as fluent as ever, the track carries a much more relaxed and mature sense of musicianship. The lack of movement within the track has more of an impact than anything else. It allows for the band to play more with layers and textures, in this case with things like the pedal loop of glitches and feedback that ebb and flows with the dynamics of the track.
In saying that, there is no escaping the focus of the track, being Gaffney’s guest vocals. In the past, it was uncommon for Enemies to place so much importance on a top line. However, this new approach truly tested their songwriting ability in a positive way. Whether the approach was the inspiration for writing it, or the song came about purely out of love for what they do, ‘Glow’ is definitely a step in the right direction for Enemies.
‘Valuables’, the third and final album from Irish group Enemies, drops on the 9th of December on Top Shelf Records. Sadly, Enemies only have one last show left, at Dublin Vicar Street; find tickets for the gig here. For past TGTF coverage on the lads, go here. Otherwise, just put on one of their records, listen and reminisce.
Up-and-coming folk singer/songwriter Holly Macve has announced a brief run of English tour dates for early next year, following her scheduled trip to America for SXSW 2017.* The newly announced live dates will support the release of Macve’s debut LP ‘Golden Eagle’, which is due out on the 3rd of March via Bella Union. Editor Mary has already featured the album’s first single ‘No One Has the Answers’ as our Video of the Moment #2203.
Tickets for the following shows are available now. TGTF’s previous reporting on Holly Macve, including live coverage from SXSW 2016, is collected right back here.
Tuesday 4th April 2017 – Bristol Wardrobe
Wednesday 5th April 2017 – Brighton Komedia
Thursday 6th April 2017 – London St. John on Bethnal Green
Friday 7th April 2017 – Manchester Sacred Trinity
Sunday 9th April 2017 – Newcastle Cluny 2
* As always, any information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts, and the artist lineup is subject to change. For news and updates on SXSW 2017, please consult the festival’s official schedule here.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 7th December 2016 at 6:00 pm
Never been to Brighton? No problem! The Magic Gang, who call the Southern seaside town their home, decided to feature the place in their latest promo video for ‘Only Waiting’. I’ve been to Brighton a handful of times for The Great Escape, but apparently I have somehow missed the pink bodysuit-clad being known colloquially as the Disco Bunny. Trust me, he has to be seen in this video to be believed. Blissfully unaware of his outfit’s brightness, or perhaps finding power in his, shall we say, unconventional dancing costume, his joyful prancing and true desire to make passersby happy with his antics seem to work well with this track from The Magic Gang, which appears on their ‘The Second EP From’ (get it?) out now. For more on The Magic Gang on TGTF, including my coverage of them at Canadian Music Week 2016, check out this link.
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