Exactly one month ago Elbow announced their new album Flying Dream 1. Today they’ve released its lead single, which is named after an entirely different album. Yes, today’s new track “The Seldom Seen Kid” shares a title with Elbow’s 2008 LP, the one our own Ryan Leas once described as “where Elbow became Elbow in a truer sense.” The two works are so titled because both are inspired by Bryan Glancy, a Manchester musician and longtime friend of the band.
“The Seldom Seen Kid” is moody, but with a skip in its step, its orchestral drone and lightly shuffling drums cut by playful piano, guitar, and bass work. “And babe if you’d met him, I picture you’d sit/ Blasting my wisdom with two-barrelled wit,” Guy Garvey sings. “Then he’d steal you for dancing, and you’d lend him your arms/ And I’d stooge for your laughing, and you’d twirl in the chaos of charm.” It’s incredibly lovely.
Garvey had this to say about the track:
Whilst we were recording, the realities of lockdown meant that I often only got to hear the music the lads had been making in their homes in Manchester late at night when the house was still. The first thing I heard was what you hear, the drums leading into a beautiful, daring, woodwind arrangement. I was expecting a piano, not a clarinet, but Craig’s creation perfectly encapsulated my mood at that point and the lyrics came out in the order you hear them.
It struck me that Bryan meeting my wife Rachael would have been something to witness, a joint charm offensive of grand proportions as both are proud and brilliant and a little bit naughty. In my mind at that point, there was no better thing than watching my best friend dance with the woman I love.
Watch director Mark Thomas’ video for the song below.
01 “Flying Dream 1”
02 “After The Eclipse”
03 “Is It A Bird”
04 “Six Words”
05 “Calm And Happy”
06 “Come On, Blue”
07 “The Only Road”
08 “Red Sky Radio (Baby Baby Baby)”
09 “The Seldom Seen Kid”
10 “What Am I Without You”
Flying Dream 1 is out 11/19.