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ChrissyBoy
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PostSubject: Little Fictions   Fri 03 Feb 2017, 18:09

Mighty quiet on here, so I thought I'd throw a new topic in for any comments on the latest album.
Haven't actually listened to it myself in full........ I'm only literally on the third track, which I prefer immediately to the other ones I've heard.

Maybe I'll need a few listens as haven't paid much attention to the intial drip fed releases, but none of them really "grabbed" me at the time.
Dare I say they sounded a bit too light for me - melodic enough and maybe they are growers, but I prefer a bit of meat in there.

Hope everyone looking in is doing fine as time marches on for all of us Smile



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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Fri 03 Feb 2017, 18:16

One listen for me, need to go through a little more, but I am enjoying a more upbeat sound, dare I say less melancholy?

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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Fri 03 Feb 2017, 18:39

MagicalTrevor wrote:
One listen for me, need to go through a little more, but I am enjoying a more upbeat sound, dare I say less melancholy?

that is a good point though.... I tend to get drawn to the dark side, so a bit of cheering up isn't a bad thing Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Fri 03 Feb 2017, 19:01

ok, i'm back with it already on second listen. I like it. Never in doubt really... its Elbow, it's Guy and
picking up on more of the lyrics this time too. I've always loved the way this bloke writes.

the final sleeve note to Jupp at the end is a lovely wee touch too.... shit, i've went all sentimental again. Guess that's what two listens to elbow does to a bloke. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Sat 04 Feb 2017, 08:23

What stunned me was how much to the fore the percussion was. The band lose their drummer and then base their entire sound on it.

Did Pete go for a long sit down in the middle of the album? There is hardly any bass on quite a few tracks.

Also, not a lot in the way of guitars..

It's growing on me - Little Fictions (the track) jarred a bit at first and I thought that there were too many musical ideas in there, but it's starting to gel in my head and it'll probably end up being my favourite.

Just a few early thoughts after listening through 3 times in the van...

Mike.
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Sun 05 Feb 2017, 00:59

I have listened to it through about five times now.

On first listen, I wasn't really sure what to think. I was already aware of the immediate and hopeful opener, "Magnificent (She Says)", the rather wonderful "All Disco" and then we were given "Gentle Storm" just a week before the release of the album itself. I was less immediately taken with this as it does take sparseness of music to a whole new level, the only real melody existing in Guy's voice, but you know what? I heard it three times before I got the album, now a further five times, and it's really a grower. The pulsing rhythm and sparse use of piano are vital here and it's quite a stunning little track. What a contrast to the opener, but not in a bad way.

The other tracks on first listen? As has been mentioned, quite a bit more percussive than recent albums, ironically so given the absence of Jupp, and first impressions are that Jupp's absence stands out...well, not like a sore thumb... but is certainly undeniable. The band insist they've always worked with loops, and I have heard this on certain songs, but it's evident in many of the songs here, they begin and end on precisely the same sound, and there is a persistent background pulse running through each track. This gives the album a certain momentum, not a bad thing, but certainly a little different. It's much fleshier than say, Build a Rocket Boys!, and far less glacial than The Take off and Landing.

On first listen, I felt it was less melodic than their previous three albums - Seldom Seen, Build, and Take Off all boasted some fine melodies, and while the melodies are definitely there on Little Fictions, I do think the boys have gone for a more complex sound here, and it's about texture and rhythm first, Guy's mellifluous vocals providing most of the melody on offer. I think Take Off was a more accessible affair, if you will. Ironic again really, given it was a consciously more downbeat affair, but I am talking more about the tunes and song structures than the themes of the record.

I don't find Little Fictions a wild departure, but it is different enough to be a refreshing change, certainly.

Song by song:

1. Magnificent (She Says) - I still find this a bizarre choice for an opening track. It should be the penultimate song, surely? It's quite different to the rest of the album in that it is very immediate, an obvious lead single. Not a criticism at all, it's a beautifully made track, wonderfully thoughtful and optimistic, but would One Day Like This have worked as track 1 on TSSK? No. Indeed, most, if not all Elbow opening tracks are ones that start slowly and build, or just stay slow. So, this is a first.

2. Gentle Storm - See above. I really like it now. The percussion screams "No Jupp!" but it's a pretty lovely song all told.

3. Trust the Sun - The intro's too long I think (although if they insisted on such a long intro, this is an ideal opener for me). The piano and Guy's vocals on here are remarkable. An instant win. I liked this pretty much straight away.

4. All Disco - What a fantastic song. The extra vocals they used through a few of these tracks really add flavour, and this is a deeply emotional track that's also a little funny. Inspired by a remark made by Pixies frontman Black Francis, it makes a valid point about music never really being 100 per cent what the artist wants it to be, nor should it. Especially those artists who think they're creating their own genre......as Black Francis would say, "Genre aside, it's really all disco."

5. Head for Supplies - This is Elbow making pretty music in the only way Elbow know how. I adore the harmonising (in fact, 10/10 for the vocals altogether on this album), and the clarity of the guitar chords here weaving through said harmonies. It's just a beautiful song.

6. Firebrand & Angel - A jaunty, slightly darker number. Moody. I wasn't sure what to think at first - it didn't jump out at me, possibly because it was really quite different. But different can be good, and on repeat listen, while not my favourite track, it's still a solid contributor.

7. K2  - Possibly even darker than track 6? Certainly lyrically. Elbow are the best band I have ever put my ears to, but I will first in claiming they tend to go for the sentimental jugular more often than not, and this one is certainly passionate, but not a hint of sentimentality. This is a political diatribe and Guy actually sounds strung out and disappointed.  Even the latter declarations of believing in love and having it written into his blood....it's moving, certainly, but it's pitched with a sense of disappointment that it's not the norm. Matter of fact. It's quite devastating really.

8. Montparnasse - A short, bittersweet, simple love song on an album of generally more complex expressions. It's not a typical love song even then, being more a lament on miscommunication within presumably Guy's new relationship with Rachael Stirling. Love the line "Don't talk like we're stuck in a lift. Why would I be missing you so violently?". Exquisite.

9. Little Fictions - At 8 minutes, 26 seconds this is Elbow's longest ever song to date. And what an absolutely incredible song it is. About the not so sweet elements of a romantic relationship, and probably about family life in general and how it's not a bed of roses. I just love the slightly scary piano opening followed by the beat kicking in enough to actually induce dancing which is not what you generally do to an Elbow song......and then, just after the 5 minute mark, the dramatic, deliciously discordant strings burst into life, and it's aural heaven. Blown away. Magnificent sounds pretty and Little Fictions is far more pragmatic. Magnificent is the child with a world ahead full of wonder and promise and trust. Little Fictions is the ageing cynic, not depressed, but aware, and accepting of life's limitations. Even when you've got love and a homestead, separate agendas will weigh you down, and even when you find the toil of accepting another's idiosyncrasies barely sufferable, you will still realise that this is life, you still love them, and you want to have their children and grow old with them. Sublime and unparalleled song-writing.

10. Kindling - A gorgeous closing track and I have to say the lyric,
"Fifty souls to a carriage and I'm trying hard to be ignored....then my telephone shakes into life and I see your name...." actually reduced me almost to tears, especially the way the keyboard soars in the background at that moment. Such a tender and wonderful way to close the album. Much as I have enjoyed little soundbites of the boys chatting....my only bugbear is that here I think it's a bit mistimed. Such a gorgeous song should have ended with silence. Maybe between Little Fictions and Kindling would have been better?

So.... my overall feeling after five full listens is that Little Fictions is a cracking new record from the best band on the planet. I would remove the soundbite from the end and slot it in before the end track, and I would put Magnificent later in the album and open with Trust the Sun.....but apart from that, cannot fault it. Percussively, lyrically, vocally, musically excellent.
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Sun 05 Feb 2017, 05:28

Gave it a few listens as I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive (pre-ordered back in October). I'll come back to properly digest the album once I have it in my hands and can flip through the liner notes. I do have to say that the lack of Jupp is jarring and noticeable to a long-time fan and reading the comments that Guy has been saying, it has made the situation worse. You can't quite claim that everything's fine now when according to him they're not even friends at this point. confused

No idea what happened with them, but that's 25+ years of history to essentially write off as a positive... Insanity. Just something that I ended up thinking about when listening to the album after reading articles about the album.

Firebrand & Angel was the standout for me. When that chorus kicks in at the end? Heavenly.
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Mon 06 Feb 2017, 04:12

Thanks for the insight ,Muse some of which does resonate. I'm on about my 5th listen now and I still cannot pick out my firm favourite. It started out with Trust the Sun but now I'm loving Kindling.
It's a really fine album and certainly one that will divide many because of the percussion elements considering there's no Jupp.
I'm looking forward to seeing the lads perform it live in March.
There might be a change in perception to a few of these tracks when played live
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Mon 06 Feb 2017, 23:31

ukkonen wrote:
I do have to say that the lack of Jupp is jarring and noticeable to a long-time fan and reading the comments that Guy has been saying, it has made the situation worse. You can't quite claim that everything's fine now when according to him they're not even friends at this point. confused

No idea what happened with them, but that's 25+ years of history to essentially write off as a positive... Insanity. Just something that I ended up thinking about when listening to the album after reading articles about the album.

I've now listened to two interviews with Guy and Pete, first on the Steve Lamacq show on Friday, then on today's episode of BBC Radio 4's Front Row.  Both times they were asked about Jupp's departure.  Both times, Guy's a little unpolished and awkward.  He puts a positive face on the departure -- that it was amicable, no hard feelings, etc. -- but it seems clear, from the awkwardness, that it remains a touchy subject.

From the two interviews, which cover slightly different ground, the sequence of events went like this: there was some unhappiness in the band, they scheduled a writing retreat in Scotland for January 2016 to work on the new album and sort out the issues, Jupp decided to leave the band ("same week as Bowie's death," Guy said), the other four were shaken but not surprised by this and decided to continue with the writing retreat where they started work on Little Fictions, and they ended up producing a lot more music (some of which they saved for a "collaborations" album) than they expected.  (In the Front Row interview, Guy said that he wants to release more music faster, but as Elbow, not as a solo artist. Courting the Squall seems to be a one-off.  They feel like they've been lazy, with just seven albums under the belt.)

What I wonder, then, is if the band's current working method (ie., Take-Off onward), with the band members working separately or in odd combinations and then pulling it all together, was the source of Jupp's unhappiness.  That it wasn't a creative process he either liked or felt comfortable with.  That's just speculation, and, truth is, we may never know.
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Wed 08 Feb 2017, 17:55

OK, so here is my take on it ; listened to it around 5 times now.

In my initial listens, I was underwhelmed, bored almost and certainly not grabbed by it, nor touched. The 3 songs aired, prior to the album release all washed over me.

Although, it has grown on me a little - title track, Trust The Sun ('The River' soundalike) & Firebrand and Angel, all getting a gentle seal of approval - only gentle though.

It's just missing variety, it's missing the odd kick in the bollocks, it's missing Jupp, although I'm no drumming expert......it's all too one paced.

Lyrically, it's good, Guys voice sounding fabulous as ever...just all too safe.

I just hope that when I see them live 3 times in March, that the little subtleties and intracacies that I can make out, aren't lost on that all too familiar 'chit chat' in the audience.

In my opinion, so far, Guys solo LP would be a much richer choice of listening.
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Fri 10 Feb 2017, 12:51

My Bury Vest wrote:
OK, so here is my take on it ; listened to it around 5 times now.

In my initial listens, I was underwhelmed, bored almost and certainly not grabbed by it, nor touched.  The 3 songs aired, prior to the album release all washed over me.

Although, it has grown on me a little - title track, Trust The Sun ('The River' soundalike) & Firebrand and Angel, all getting a gentle seal of approval - only gentle though.

It's just missing variety, it's missing the odd kick in the bollocks, it's missing Jupp, although I'm no drumming expert......it's all too one paced.

Lyrically, it's good, Guys voice sounding fabulous as ever...just all too safe.

I just hope that when I see them live 3 times in March, that the little subtleties and intracacies that I can make out, aren't lost on that all too familiar 'chit chat' in the audience.

In my opinion, so far, Guys solo LP would be a much richer choice of listening.

This is not too far off from what I am feeling, MBV.

Been waiting to chime in with my 2 cents here, as I wanted to really give this album a proper window of time to work its magic on me. I just don't think I'm feeling it this time around, sad as it is to say.

Agreed 100% on the excellent vocals by Guy, and on the lyrics being quite strong overall.

Unfortunately, I also agree 100% about the safeness and the "one paced" nature of the album. I can't say that the songs are terribly distinct from one another, for the most part. Been listening for a week now, and I would be hard pressed to give you the titles to most of these tunes after hearing the first minute of them. Just a bit too same-y in a way. Nothing that instantly grabs you (or as you said, nothing that gives you that "odd kick in the bollocks", though I'm no expert on being bollock-kicked myself Laughing  )

I think they were deliberate in avoiding the anthemic arena-style stuff this time around, and I have no issue with that whatsoever. I do think that, even before they ever got anthemic, they still had a certain current running through their music that charged in both sonic and emotional ways, and I'm not picking up on that current in this set. It's kinda...flatline, I guess? No real texture, maybe? Not sure how to describe it but there's just something that feels off and the overall effect is of competence, rather than inspiration. I think there are definitely some moments of beauty, and some themes and phrases that make you feel and think and nod your head now and again, but these moments are sandwiched in between stretches of less memorable and impactful stuff. Nothing is entirely compelling.

I usually have at least 2 or 3 songs on every Elbow album that, even on first listen, will make me repeat the track immediately because I just need to hear it again, NOW! But this time around, that didn't happen once. So, I guess I am just a little underwhelmed. Not sure how the departure of Jupp and the unique circumstances in which this record was created have affected things, but I do feel that this is a lot less like the long-awaited visit with an old friend that I'd expected it to be. I feel guilty saying all this, but if I'm being honest, that's where it lies for me at the moment. Maybe it'll grow on me over time, but right now, I guess it's just not quite the sort of dazzler I've grown accustomed to from these guys. What else can I say?
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Thu 16 Feb 2017, 20:29

My odd bits & rambles:

I think Little Fictions is their most surprising release. For all of Guy's pre-release talk about making an optimistic album, I just assumed that that meant optimism through a Mancunian lens. But no, for the most part, this collection is about as bright as the pink and orange on the cover would indicate.

At first I was disappointed to see only 10 tracks. But never mind - this is just right. Naturally I'll still be chasing any b-sides that crop up.

Am I the only one who isn't 100% sold on Trust the Sun then? Alright. I'll keep at it.

Outside of the ones we'd already heard, the two most commonly getting stuck in my head are Firebrand & Angel and Montparnasse.

I think avoiding a "safe" sound gets harder and harder with every album. Gets harder and harder to avoid sounding like yourself. And I agree that this probably sounds a bit safe. Still digging it though. If this is the popcorn to the filet mignon that is LOTFW, well...different albums suit different situations. I think there's definitely a proper mood for LF that really makes it shine.

Kindling is the best album closer since Scattered Black and Whites. Come at me.
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Fri 17 Feb 2017, 19:50

It's definitely an all round good album, better than the last few and I don't skip any tracks when listening in the car.
I love a jangly guitar so Kindling is a nice ending to the album and a lovely song.....for some weird reason it made me think of U2 all I want is you, maybe just the very opening guitar

Trust the sun is my fav...deeper, darker rhythm, bit of Base, verse, light uplift piano keys, killer lyric "I just don't trust the sun to rise if I can't see your eyes, your my reason for breathing"....song peters out at the end, I would have thrown in another "you're my reason for breathing". Click.end next song
(...Oh and has something of a Bruce hornsby and the range piano sound or is it just me lol)

All disco, didn't love it at first but tune grows on you.

Head for supplies could have been on cast of thousands.

K2 is OK, but I hate the first bit of the intro. Sounds pants like someone got a casio organ for Xmas. And the one drum loop running throughout is a bit monotonous on this one. Lyrics are good and it grows on you.

Montparnasse is a beautiful little song

Little fictions has great lyrics and grows into a meaty wall of sound....but it is a minute and a half too long lolz

Magnificent isn't, but is reasonably good and Gentle Storm I like the stripped back vocal rhythm

Still a 8.5 / 10 for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Sat 18 Feb 2017, 14:13

The album arrived in the mail on Wednesday. I've listened to it in the car, at work, and at home, sometimes straight through, sometimes in bits and pieces.

Overall, I like it a lot. I already loved "Magnificent (She Says)." "Montparnasse" and "Heading for Supplies" grabbed me instantly. "Little Fictions" was amazing. "Trust the Sun" (or "Cold in Chicago," as WMP imported it) is an interesting little puzzle. And "Kindling" and "K2" have been real growers on me. Little Fictions doesn't hit the sobby emotional buttons than past albums did (Take-Off, for instance, gets me with "This Blue World," "My Sad Captains" has me weepy, and "The Blanket of Night" has me wracked with sobs), so I'm not as emotionally connected to it, yet for me, it's probably their most consistent album. It coheres really well, and (with one borderline exception) it doesn't take any wrong steps.

The one borderline wrong step come with "Montparnasse." The first time I heard the song, I felt really connected to the song -- the piano, the layered instruments, the plaintive vocal. As the song wore on, I felt like I knew how it was going to develop and go... big piano freak-out, big emotional climax, catharsis... and then it faded away instead. I couldn't figure out at first why I felt such an surety about the song, and on the second listen it clicked. "Montparnasse" felt like a Coldplay song. Specifically, it hit the "Fix You" buttons with me, so the lack of emotional release felt wrong. On the third listen, when I really "got" the lyrics, I saw that the song is the anti-"Fix You." There's no catharsis, because there's no epiphany or happy ending here. Some relationships don't work, break down, become unsalvageable. In an interview, Guy said the lyrics were about one of his ex-girlfriends, and that's a story, obviously, that has no happy ending. Once I really understood, it wasn't a misstep any longer.

Sonically, I was sometimes reminded of old Elbow. "Trust the Sun" -- and I don't mean this negatively at all -- felt like a b-side from the Leaders-era. "This is the stuff they used to do, and then they stopped doing," was my thought.

The "K2"-"Kindling" run of songs is very strong, and I've listened to that, on its own, several times.

"Heading for Supplies" is exquisite.

"Safe" isn't the word I'd use. I'd call it "mature." Little Fictions is a mature work.
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Mon 20 Feb 2017, 19:13

I was looking forward to this album for a long while. While there is one or two songs here that I like, I must confess I was horribly disappointed. As a few others have mentioned there was a lack of emotion in the music. It was very sparse which sometimes works but more often did not. The percussion was for me annoying.

I hope this doesn't signal a new direction for the band. They had a great run. Is this the end?
I hope not. Guy writes wonderful lyrics. IMHO the music was not very engaging for this offering.
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PostSubject: Re: Little Fictions   Fri 14 Apr 2017, 23:17

I've continued to listen to LF..... Genuinely think it is a great album and mentioned before, better than last few. Wish I was going to one of the forest concerts
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