Album reviews: Elbow, Mø, Dan Croll, Ann Peebles, Arve Henriksen


Elbow The Take Off And Landing Of Everything (Fiction)

If this album title suggests an urge to face the future after 2011’s nostalgic Build a Rocket Boys!, Bury’s finest are up to the job. This, their sixth album, didn’t come without testing times. Guy Garvey split from his partner, then decamped to New York to recover. Band members wrote songs disparately, too, but the results suggest that Elbow’s robust core values would see them right even if they moved to different planets.

Characteristic notes of empathy and emotional acuity guide these meditations on ageing, destabilisation and sustaining friendship; universal subjects couched, as is Elbow’s wont, in humble specifics. “This Blue World” handles grandiose images (“Was the universe in rehearsal for us?”) with loving restraint, the obvious, more grand-standing approach avoided. When Garvey writes about love, he dodges platitudes and targets minute details, as in “Fly Boy Blue/Lunette”: “Where are the words for the leap in my chest/ When mischief appears either side of the scar on your nose/ Made by a rose thorn...”. When tipsy male bonds are toasted in “My Sad Captains”, striking images (“The BMX apothecary”) and noble, brassy flourishes elevate it above hug-a-mate anthemic cliché.

Elsewhere, big themes take anchor in fine-tuned character studies. “Charge” doubles as a drunken old rocker’s complaint and a study in mid-life loneliness, “The Blanket of Night” as the tender tale of two ocean-tossed asylum seekers and a hymn to romantic constancy.

Between the pub and the high seas, Elbow reset their mission statement here: to navigate the heart’s tides with their art intact.


Kevin Harley

No Mythologies To Follow (RCA Victor)

Joining the musical dots between fellow Scandi electro-popstrels Lykke Li and Robyn comes the Danish artist Mø, aka Karen Marie Ørsted.

Her debut is an accomplished, glossily shimmering thing. There are chart-friendly melodies and retro-synths (“Red in the Grey” opens like it’s “Take On Me”) and vocals evoking bankable acts from Lana Del Ray to Shakira. But there’s also surging bass and dancefloor-shaking stomp (see the Diplo-featuring “XXX 88”), laptop-bothering skittish beats, blasts of brass and even unexpected peals of almost West African-style guitars.

Enough wonk and weird, then, to distinguish Mø from other predictable dance-pop puppets. There must be something in those fjords…


Holly Williams

Dan Croll Sweet Disarray (Deram)

While listening to this inoffensive folkie electro-pop you can’t help feel like you’re in an advert, one where smiley hipsters are on a road trip and everyone’s bopping along to the nice plinky, synthy sounds.

So, it’s not surprising that Toshiba recently used the catchy “From Nowhere” to try to flog us all tablets. There’s a distinctly East Coast, MGMT-meets-Vampire-Weekend vibe to Croll’s sound, which gets a bit grating considering he’s actually from Staffordshire. But expect to hear Sweet Disarray Spotify-ed at every bland dinner party from now until Christmas or soundtracking your next trip to that clothes store that thinks it’s a bit cool. It won’t frighten the horses, but it might encourage you to buy an overpriced T-shirt. Job’s a good ’un.


Kate Wills

Ann Peebles I Can’t Stand The Rain (Hi/Fat Possum)

Only Peebles’s 1970s output for Willie Mitchell’s Hi label rivalled Al Green’s as the apotheosis of a certain kind of slinky, skinned-back Memphis soul. And what a sound it was: penumbral rhythms cooking on low, the pocket deep, tight and minimalistic – resulting in maximal drama.

The title track of this 1974 album was the minor UK hit – a scouring, burnt-out love lamentation on a parched groove – but the rest of the album continues the tone: the agonies of love expressed caustically and without ideological back-up.

Sadly, Fat Possum isn’t re-releasing Straight From the Heart, but the other five albums in the canon are all present and soberly correct. Soul scaled to the true compass of the broken heart: not a big thing but a real thing.


Nick Coleman

Arve Henriksen Chron + Cosmic Creation Rune (Grammofon)

Norwegian trumpeter/soundscaper Henriksen’s last album, the critically lauded Places of Worship, proved so listenable that it almost risked popularity. This is his experimental revenge.

Chron, which appeared in vinyl form as part of the seven-LP box-set Solidification, is a kind of electronica audio-diary recorded at home and in transit (hotels, airports, backstage). More sound than music, it’s sort-of-interesting but hardly essential and unlikely to be played very often.

In contrast, Cosmic Creation is the real Henriksen deal, with each of the eight numbered parts repaying close attention as the instrumental textures gradually take shape and then build into long-form coherence. It’s wispy ambient music with a thrilling sense of danger.


Phil Johnson

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Hopkins in Westworld

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Rock and role: Jamie Bell's character Benjamin Grimm is transformed into 'Thing' in the film adaptation of Marvel Comics' 'Fantastic Four'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Hopkins veered between sycophancy and insult in her new chat show
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
In his role as Hamlet, Benedict Cumberbatch will have to learn, and repeat night after night, around 1,480 lines

Arts and Entertainment
Belgian sexologist Goedele Liekens with pupils at Hollins Technology College in Accrington
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
The rapper Drake

Arts and Entertainment
The gaffer: Prince Philip and the future Queen in 1947
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Style icons: The Beatles on set in Austria
Arts and Entertainment
By Seuss! ‘What Pet Shall I Get?’ hits the bookshops this week
Arts and Entertainment
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after Enola Gray and her crew dropped the bomb
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Elliott outside his stationery store that houses a Post Office
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Film review Tom Cruise, 50, is still like a puppy in this relentless action soap opera

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
    Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

    Berlusconi's world of sleaze

    The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
    Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

    Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

    Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
    Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

    Could gaming arcades be revived?

    The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
    Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

    Heard the one about menstruation?

    Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage