Elbow represent a certain kind of music and a certain kind of music fan. They are the middle aged spread of Indie. The Britpop hangover turned Volvo driving father of three. They are the Waitrose Hummus on the dinner table of rock.
None of that’s an insult by the way. I’m over 40, I have grey hair, I have wrinkles and back ache and stand at the back for gigs on weeknights. And yet. It took me a long time to get Elbow. I could hear that they could play. They had a BB6Music way about them. I saw Guy Garvey interviewed on music TV and thought “Good Bloke”. They sat in the middle of festival bills where the Chef’s got their names in the same font size as the bands. And I didn’t actively dislike them, I just didn’t fall for them.
Then came the long cold winter of 2014. We were living on a farm at the top of a hill. When the wind blew, it tore a hole through you and your thermal underwear, when it snowed the water pipe to the house froze. And when the boiler worked, it was spring.
Holed up on the farm over that winter period we had trouble getting our cars up and down the steep drive. We had animals to care for and we had a full time job trying to keep the farm house warm enough to sleep in.
In fact the only thing that wasn’t rendered temporarily inoperable by the cold was the broadband. The internet was just fine. So we ordered our food to be delivered and organised our services online. We spent our every spare minute pulling ice off of things and shovelling snow. And I downloaded some music to listen to so I could ignore the fact I hadn’t felt my feet since November.
I’d heard My Sad Captains on the afore mentioned radio station and took a punt on an Elbow album. I played the hell out of it and downloaded another. Freeze, listen, repeat.
Right up until I had Asleep In The Back, Cast Of Thousands, The Seldom Seen Kid and The Take Off and Landing Of Everything on full rotation all day every day.
My Sad Captains became a beacon of hope by the end of February. This freeze would one day end. The sun would come back and Oh My Soul, What a perfect Waste of Time lay ahead.