Elbow never intended to make six albums.
In the years leading up to their 2001 debut Asleep At The Back, they couldn’t imagine releasing more than four, and were so certain of this that they almost called that first album Disc One Of Four.
“And here we are, releasing our sixth,” says frontman Guy Garvey with a shake of his head. “I suppose we could have called it Disc Six Of Four, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it.”
Here they are indeed, one of Britain’s best-loved bands; many things to many people.
Garvey, particularly, is adored as much for his personality as he is for his voice. Attend an Elbow gig and you’ll meet thousands of people who either want to buy him a drink or, shall we say, get better acquainted. Something about his rugged exterior, cuddly demeanour and poetic soul does the trick.
He is great company; a master of the anecdote, whether he’s telling a story about himself, Elbow or any manner of other topics he’s interested in. He veers from serious conversation about immigration and the rational thought he believes is missing from the dialogue on the subject in the UK (something he addresses on The Blanket Of Night, the final track on the new album) to chatting about watching Morecambe & Wise as a child. Conversation is full of warmth, peppered with wit and the odd expletive.
The band - Garvey, along with his old friends Richard Jupp, Pete Turner and brothers Craig and Mark Potter - are currently rehearsing for their forthcoming tour.
They practise at Blueprint Studios in Salford, where they’ve recorded all of their albums since their third, 2005’s Leaders Of The Free World.
Many bands trade in generic emotion and stock phrases of heartbreak, very few offer the personal touch Elbow do. That’s why they connect, come April, there’ll be arenas full of people.