ELBOW & r & & r & The Seldom Seen Kid & r & & r & 4 STARS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & n college, I had this half-British neighbor who bragged that he "only liked emotional music." Bullshit. His four-inch CD binder held Placebo's Without You I'm Nothing and The Get Up Kids' Four-Minute Mile, but where was Miles Davis' Porgy and Bess? Today, I bet Mr. EmoBrit is as ignorant of Elbow's recent, soul-twisting (but hipster-hairless) release.
The Manchester-based band's fourth isn't much different than its first: a slow-rolling bittersweet symphony (eat that, R. Ashcroft), heavy on the bass, dusted lightly with orchestral and choral backup. Frontman Guy Garvey can still fill a room with soul, and what sounds, on first and second spin, like monotony turns out to be a developed and consistent style. Just as a single focused pitch shatters crystal, Elbow's sound -- at its most wrenching in the album's belt-along, "The Bones of You" -- twists the hearts of certain listeners, usually lonely, post-Peter Pannites. Sampling "Summertime" helps.
-- DAVE MAASS
DOWNLOAD: "An Audience with the Pope"
BRITISH SEA POWER
Do You Like Rock Music?
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & he third full-length release by British Sea Power splits the difference between what was interesting on its first album and what wasn't on its second. The result sounds like an unintended concept album. Do I like rock music? Yes. But the album as a whole sounds less like rock and a great deal more like something someone living under the largest and heaviest piece of granite in the world might dream up in order to fulfill all of the clich & eacute;s of the industry. Bombastic? Check. Anthemic? Check. Stadium-performance ready? Check.
The indie pop gets buried under walls of guitar shimmer on "Atom" and synth-heavy drudgery on "Waving Flags." And everything else sounds familiar (but not in a good way). If put into heavy rotation for two weeks, the album might open up. But by then, too many other options will be available.
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.