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Cast of Thousands

Release Date: 08.18.03 (UK)
Record label: V2
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.


A Rush of Blood to the Elbow
by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent

Elbow showed so much promise at their conception, gaining the Single of the Week in the NME for "Newborn," and a Mercury nomination for the Asleep At The Back long-player. A top 20 album and appearances on Top of the Pops seemed to hint at a secure future, but much of their new album, Cast Of Thousands, fails to inspire or capture the imagination.

This 11-track release possesses some incredible individual moments, but as an album as a whole it sinks into obscurity under a dark cloud of dreariness. The new single, "Fallen Angel," starts in a promising way but before long becomes a victim of the nothingness that creeps into the music and the lyrics, much like the rest of the album. The only track that clearly stands out from the others and lifts the proceedings is "Grace Under Pressure," which starts to deliver what the title of the album promises by featuring the talents of The London Community Gospel Choir and the crowd Glastonbury 2002.

But "Grace Under Pressure" comes too late on the album to save it. After an absence of nearly a year, Elbow are not going to muscle their way into critical favouritism with this lacklustre effort. Cast Of Thousands was demoed at a friend’s house in Western Scotland and recorded in Liverpool by the band and long term production collaborator Ben Hillier, who has also worked with Blur and Cast. Experimental at times (Ribcage sees a flat mic taped to Guy Garvey and pre-tongue vocals recorded), Cast Of Thousands relies too heavily on a couple of songs saving the day. They don’t. I’m giving them the titular elbow. 25-Aug-2003 1:55 PM