Review of Elbow's album Asleep In The Back [Deluxe Edition]
The quintet who makes up Bury outfit Elbow can look back on 2009 with a sense of satisfaction, following on from wianning the Mercury Music Prize last year they supported U2 on stadium dates and finally achieved commercial recognition. Also listed for the previously mentioned critics' award, this re-issue of their debut was original available in 2001.
Whilst many re-releases are viewed as a money-making exercise for record companies, Elbow's relative lack of success in terms of sales (until recently) may mean new followers have yet to come across 'Asleep In The Back'. Acclaimed nearly a decade ago, the album has aged rather well, with the likes of 'Red' still an engulfing piece of beautiful warmth and 'Any Day Now' broodingly hypnotic. Not ones to craft a three minute slice of pop, Guy Garvey and co have always been confident to explore and be expansive, as evidenced on 'Powder Blue' and the swooning 'Can't Stop'. The crowning moment of this lusciously melancholic debut still remains as 'Newborn', which majestically conveys a feeling of genuine warmth so rarely found in music.
But what is there for those who already own the record, it is worth the investment in these credit-crunching times? This is very much a split answer, with the DVD very much being for hardcore collectors. The videos and images relating to the era are of the record lack any wide appeal, but this certainly isn't the case with the second CD. A combination of the band's original 'Noisebox' EP and a series of live performances, the latter tracks highlight the difference of the band as a live proposition. 'Bitten By The Tail Fly' and 'Coming Second' find a new level of power and intensity, while the radio sessions of 'New Born' and 'Red' allow Garvey's tender vocals to really shine to spine-tingling affect. Ultimately though it is the original disc which impresses, and like a fine wine has improved with age.