Guy Garvey On Unknown Sundays 2024


On this “Unknown” Sundays (which comes from our old site and blog from 2017), we’re Courting the Squall of Guy Garvey and Elbow for you!  We apologize in advance to our friends across the pond, who already know just how known he should be–as well as his band mates.  They and he give meaning to “Manchester United!”  Whether it is the long catalog of Elbow, or his debut album, Courting The Squall (UK in 2015, US 2016) there’s unencumbered musicianship that will fill that void you’ve been experiencing, as well as lead you into a musical field you can get lost in, if you let it.

This “squalling” album has the heart, soul, and tripped-out fantastical coming at you, as well as the sentimental sophistication that you would expect from the humble-yet-pertinent lyrical deliveries of Guy Garvey.  I don’t know if this was the “Elbow” album that would have been, or truly an act of Garvey’s request for solo-ism, but it just proves the hidden gems, mysteries and cataclysmic goodies that surround this true alternative rock band and their vocalist.  Garvey has a very unique vocal style, and he is an absolute master of making odd, emotional lyrical connections to the simplest of life’s places, pleasures and times.  The way he weaves the lines, pontificating eloquently, and then smoothly delivering as the charismatic observer, the storyteller, or even the memoirist.  Not to mention, he understands and appreciates clever language tricks, metaphor, and finessed alliteration, which will always fascinate us her at Beyond Your Radio.  Yes, we’re going to call him the next, Sting (it’s not that far a stretch)!

From the opening moment with “Angela’s Eyes,” Guy is putting you on notice that there’s going to be a relentless sound pursuit through a variety of instruments—both low key and right in your ear’s face. Even when the title track takes the tempo down a tick or two, there’s a harp piano collaboration that flutters along like a butterfly with Garvey’s vocals. The final work is worthy of one of the best over-looked solo records of 2016 in the United States for sure.  Don’t believe us, go back in that year, and you will understand our comment.

So, why am I talking about Guy Garvey here on “Unknown” Sunday?  Because, for some reason, the United States audience still does not get it.  Elbow opened for Radiohead!  You think that was some record executive mismatch?  No!  In fact, this band (in the likeness of the creative musical spirit) has been pushing envelopes, disintegrating genres, and bellowing lyrical greatness ever since!  Guy Garvey has a style all his own in song-writing of which the entire world has really never experienced beyond the well scholored English music listener (much respect there — represent), and a delivery that has punctuation nearly unheard of in the music business today.  So, here begins my music multiverse experience shouting out loud for all to hear!

Let’s start with the brilliant evolution of a band that is Elbow. Asleep at the Back started it all in 2001, which in actuality was not their first release (albums of material scrapped by the band a year prior–after they were dropped by Island Records during a sell out to Universal).  These EP(s) called “Noisebox,” “Newborn,” and “Any Day Now” from said scrapped recordings got the light of day, but really the rest of us were already becoming ear witnesses to full on, impressive albums: Casts of Thousands, Leaders of the Free World, The Seldom Seen Kid, Build A Rocket Boys!, The Take Off And Landing of Everything, and the just released Little Fictions (reminder: this article was written back in 2017).

Whether it’s the clever charisma and lyrical genius and harmony like “Grounds For Divorce” from the brilliant The Seldom Seen Kid, (which also has a live album, too), or the ever-changing landscape of orchestrations which exist in every album, right down to the brilliant alternative philosophic ballads like that is “My Sad Captains” from The Take Off And Landing of Everything. Sixteen years later the band continues to steam roll, surprise, and flourish with the recent Little Fictions.

Pick up the entire Elbow catalog, and dig into Guy Garvey‘s exploration into solo-ism.  The forces at work will astound.  To listen — is to regularly flirt with emotional danger!  The pay off — is you feel so alive!  Alive and real!


Elbow Albums in my collection:  The Noisebox [EP] (1998), Asleep in the Back (2001), Cast of Thousands (2003), Leaders of the Free World (2005), The Seldom Seen Kid (2008), Build a Rocket Boys! (2011), Dead in the Boot (2012), The Take Off and Landing of Everything (2014), Lost Worker Bee [EP] (2015), Little Fictions (2017), Giants of All Sizes (2019), Elbow Rooms (2020), Flying Dream 1 (2021)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on March 13  2017.  Since then Guy Garvey and Elbow continue to be one of my favorite international bands and singer-songwriters.  There are countless interviews with the common place, Guy, which continues to impress me, both in humanity and in the talent he has.  I continue to be perplexed by the simplicity and then sophistication and then the bombasity of the creative process that surrounds the music and the writing.  He can go from subtle to over-the-top ramba jazz and complicated genre splitting riffs and bends to always make something completely unique and engaging.  Why this is not the world’s band is the final mind bender.  Any music lover from classical to pop to alternative should have a vested ear and interest in Guy Garvey and Elbow.  If Radiohead can be, then — I say to you, all, — I can keep doing this like, God, leave you in the “Belly of The Whale” and keep spitting you back up at this very point, until you finally get it!  – Mark Kuligowski  [January 14, 2024]

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *