15 September 2005

well, how about some new music, then?

elbow - "forget myself" (from the leaders of the free world lp, available for pre-order here.)

in brief : people will probably always know their coldplay from their elbow, and that's a good thing. post-britpop hopefuls finally make good.

elbow, yeah. not exactly a world-beating band name. in the category of rock bands that double as body parts, it's not quite heart or the slits. they're best-known in these parts, if known at all, for their cover of destiny's child's "independent woman," which became an internet sensation when animated w/ kittens by joel veitch of rathergood.com. as a committed anglophile, i never really given them the time of day, having lumped them in w/ post-britpop hangover bands like travis, turin brakes, starsailor, athlete, &c.

another band that emerged from that same era was coldplay, and w/ "forget myself," elbow come closer to them than to those aforementioned bands. let's be clear: they haven't "gone coldplay," as so many of their peers have, e.g. athlete and snow patrol; what i mean, rather, is that elbow have begun, to my ears, to separate themselves from the pack. (one may say what they will about coldplay, but one thing is certain: no one will mistake them for starsailor any longer.) both coldplay and elbow are emotional bands, to be sure, but the emotions they evoke in the listener are of different types and magnitudes. whereas chris martin, w/ his falsetto and piano, can draw out sniffles and maybe a tear, guy garvey of elbow, instead, impresses w/ the depth of his suffering. i am not quite so moved as taken aback at how cathartic the chorus of "forget myself" is. (which leads me to believe that elbow has, in terms of percentages, a larger male fanbase ... )

usually, when i describe a band as sounding like they're carrying a large weight, vide nickelback, i mean it as a pejorative. not so for this elbow single, b/c, well, it should sound that way. what's so thrilling about the song's chorus is w/ what ease a double-tracked garvey lifts this weight and launches it skyward. this leads to another difference w/ coldplay: for all of their kraftwerk samples and neu! records, one can rarely accuse that band of musical or lyrical heft (ponderousness, yes, but that's something different.) but, of course, the major distinction between the two is their commercial fortunes. "forget myself" is a breakthrough record, but it won't crack the american market. it's not something that many will listen to, but it does prove that they are, in fact, a band worth listening to.

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