Here’s a clip from so-called neo-proggists, Manchester-based Elbow with their 2001 single “Newborn” taken from their critically acclaimed, and Mercury Prize nominated debut album Asleep in the Back.

In addition to the single Newborn, another great track from the Asleep in the Back Album is the menacing Any Day Now, which may be a more direct connection to the traditions of prog rock.
In addition to the single "Newborn", another great track from the Asleep in the Back Album is the menacing "Any Day Now", which may be a more direct connection to the traditions of prog rock, arguably. Yet, this band is unique and worth watching apart from any comparisons.

When I first heard this single, I was living in the UK and heard it on the London version of XFM, which at the time confirmed for me that the British know how to do radio better than in any country in the world.  Well, at least better than here, which I guess diminishes the statement somewhat.  Never mind.  The point is, it was a unique sound, and critics agreed.  I remember the band interviewed on Jo Wiley’s program.  Two members of the band were being interviewed, and I remember the banter very well:

Singer, Guy Garvey: Actually, we’re very influenced by the first wave of progressive rock.  We’re like prog, but without the lengthy solos.

Guitarist, Mark Potter: No, we’re bloody not!  We’re nothing like bleedin’ prog rock!

GG:  (To Potter) Yes, we are.

MP: We’re not!

GG: (to Jo Wiley, knowingly and with a cheeky smirk) We are.

It’s kind of hard to deny that the band do betray some shades of prog, although it’s equally easy to say that they don’t.  To me they sound  kind of like Talk Talk as fronted by Peter Gabriel. But, I digress.  The tension there is perhaps the engine of what makes the band successful, and why they’re able to deliver such strong material.  And it’s interesting that with such a strong vocal resemblence that Garvey has with Gabriel, the band actually recorded at Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath.

Although the record was nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize in 2001, they lost out to PJ Harvey’s Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.  Yet, they continued to put out high quality albums on their own terms, developing their sound.  And this year, their album The Seldom Seen Kid won the prize.

For more information, check out the official Elbow website.   And a very starkly beautiful site is is too!

And for more music, investigate the Elbow MySpace page to hear songs new and old.

Enjoy!

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