On November 24th 2008, a year after the UK release of Beautiful World, Take That released the single Greatest Day.
The twelve months preceding this single’s release had seen them ask questions of themselves and their support, questions that were answered emphatically by Beautiful World. Did Take That still have what it takes? Yes, indeed they did, and the proof was on that album. Was there still a space for Take That in the music world? Yes, indeed there was. Beautiful World was a big bold success and songs like Patience and Shine were the dot on the exclamation point.
Greatest Day is the type of single a band releases when they know they have an album coming to equal that quality. Greatest Day showed everyone that the quality was not about to dip, although by this point no-one seriously thought that it would.
The Seldom Seen Kid album will go down as a moment. A moment when critical acclaim and the eyes of the world found them. Their journey from Asleep in the Back through Leaders of the Free World was full of ups and downs and anyone listening since day one will know they always have the songs. The question was never about whether they could deliver, they always could, and they always had people by the ears and the hearts, they carried on despite, and sometimes fuelled by what was happening to them.
A lot of the album was written while the band had no record deal, after the collapse of V2. They were creating without knowing whether any of it would ever be heard outside of the elbow bubble. Guy Garvey said in 2009, “when we were doing the initial bit of writing for this record, we kind of knew our record deal was at an end and we didn’t have a new one. We didn’t know how we were going to sort out all the legal stuff”
The album contains reactions to love, death and friendship and there is as always a beautiful sense of place in the songs featured.
Bands sometimes sell out a little and depart from their core ideas to have the sort of success elbow had with Seldom. Elbow never did, they wrote here about the same things they were writing about in their debut, their debut that was lest we forget, nominated for a Mercury music award. They won that award for this album, and never lost what was important to them.
The Seldom Seen Kid is the result of a band with their backs to the wall, again, and it is creation that comes with cost.