Cast of Thousands

Cast of Thousands

5.0 1
by Elbow
     
 

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Like their kindred restless spirits Spiritualized and Blur, this British combo have always proven ready, willing, and able to leap into the sonic stratosphere without a net -- a trick they pull off more spectacularly than ever on this sprawling disc. To that end, they open Cast of Thousands with "Ribcage," a

Overview

Like their kindred restless spirits Spiritualized and Blur, this British combo have always proven ready, willing, and able to leap into the sonic stratosphere without a net -- a trick they pull off more spectacularly than ever on this sprawling disc. To that end, they open Cast of Thousands with "Ribcage," a choir-enhanced six-minute tune that swirls about in a sea of highbrow prog-rock and stirring orchestral pop -- the sort of tune that most bands would position at disc's end due to its epic qualities. The dizzying disc sets off in several different directions from there, but Guy Garvey and company manage to negotiate the rather rarefied air without slipping into pretense, even when, as on the deceptively gentle "Switching Off," they tackle a topic like assisted suicide. Cast of Thousands is studded with songs (notably "Fallen Angel" and "I've Got Your Number") that reaffirm Elbow's flair for retrofitting forlorn Brit-pop ditties with smoky jazz fillips worthy of classic torch song purveyors. It also offers a glimpse of the band's gnarlier side, which rears up during the lustily affirmative tribal stomp "Grace Under Pressure." Proof positive that big really is beautiful.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
There doesn't appear to be an Elbow consensus: they are their own band; they are the Coldplay it's OK to like; they are the Talk Talk for people who've never heard Talk Talk (or Catherine Wheel); they are somewhere between Supertramp and Superchunk; they are part of a succession of over-introspective, twaddle-peddling British rock bands. They are most of these things -- the positive things, at least -- at various points. On Cast of Thousands, Elbow's second album, the group does deserve to take its rightful place as one of the most respectable rock bands going. What separates this album from the debut isn't all that apparent on the surface. Downcast songs about relationships remain the stock in trade, but the sound has made natural advancements and the quality control is less prone to malfunctioning. In other words, they have followed through on whatever promise Asleep in the Back held; you could sense this would happen, just as you could sense that, after Lazer Guided Melodies, Spiritualized would make an even better record the next time out. However predictable, the minor differences add up to a lot. More so than ever, Elbow's greatest asset is that the band is capable of making big sounds without being bombastic or flashy. And they've tempered the characteristics that got them tagged as sad sacks, although that fact is mostly apparent in the lyrics ("place" rhymes with "virgin mother what's-her-face"; the payoff line in opener "Ribcage" goes "I wanted to explode, to pull my ribs apart and let the sun inside"). The only setback? Gospel choirs. Hopefully, at some point before they make their next album, they'll realize that their songs don't need background vocals from an entire congregation in order to feel redemptive -- or powerful. [V2 issued the album in the U.S. five months after the original U.K. release.]
Rolling Stone - Christian Hoard
The rare art-rock album that comes as much from the heart as the head.
Tracks - Andy Greenwald
The results, though still understated, are shamelessly lovely.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/27/2004
Label:
V2 North America
UPC:
0638812716125
catalogNumber:
27161

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elbow   Primary Artist
Alfie   Vocals
Sally Herbert   Violin
Stephen Hussey   Violin
London Community Gospel Choir   Vocals,Musician
Everton Nelson   Violin
Marcus Garvey   Vocals
Alison Dodds   Violin
Catherine Browning   Violin
Ian Burdge   Cello
Jimi Goodwin   Vocals
Chris Worsey   Cello
Giles Broadbent   Violin
Gillon Cameron   Violin
Cathy Davey   Vocals
Sam Morris   French Horn
Maya Bickel   Violin
Richard Balson   Tuba
Toby Coles   Cornet
Simon J. Cowen   Trombone
Beckie Garvey   Vocals
Gina Garvey   Vocals
Edward Hodgson   Horn
Daniel Newell   Cornet
Bob Sastri   Brass
Alison Balsom   Trumpet
Nick Coen   Brass

Technical Credits

Ben Hillier   Producer
Ian Burdge   String Arrangements
Satellite   Artwork
Guy Garvey   Composer,Producer
Elbow   Composer,Producer

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Cast of Thousands 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the greatest albums I've ever had the pleasure to listen to. I recomend it to everyone!!