Cast of Thousands

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
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.
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.

The rare art-rock album that comes as much from the heart as the head.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/27/2004
  • Label: V2 North America
  • UPC: 638812716125
  • Catalog Number: 27161

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Grreat

    This is one of the greatest albums I've ever had the pleasure to listen to. I recomend it to everyone!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews