"It's a heavy record": Elbow's Guy Garvey on their chart-storming new album Giants Of All Sizes

Later on today (October 18), Elbow are expected to score their third UK No.1 album, having tightened their grip on top spot.

As previously reported, Giants Of All Sizes had 24,607 sales for the week so far and is ahead of Ed Sheeran’s No.6 Collaborations Project (7,691 sales) and Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent (6,668 sales). 

Earlier in the month, we caught up with frontman Guy Garvey about the group’s ambassadorial role for National Album Day 2019 – which included a special one-track edition of Giants Of All Sizes to tie in with this year’s ‘Don’t Skip’ theme – as well as getting insight on their latest outing.

“This is our shortest album, it’s nine tracks,” Garvey told Music Week. “It’s a heavy record. There were some songs that didn’t make it because they took it over the precipice of sad. In my personal life, I lost my dad. Then I lost two close friends, the band lost two close friends, in the space of eight days last October, one to cancer, one had a heart attack. All this against the bleak backdrop of the division running down the country: Brexit and more obvious climate change results. It’s been a dark and panicky time. There’s still a lot of salvation on the record, and it rocks. It’s definitely a tougher record.”

Commenting on the logic behind releasing the ‘Don’t Skip’ version of the record, Garvey claimed it was, “a nod to how important it is to us that people listen to it that way. Anybody who owns a non-skip version, I would say, would be very proud of it. If you’re going to go and buy a non-skip version then you’re proud [to have it in your hands].”

Part of National Album’s days purpose was also to celebrate all aspects of the creative process surrounding an album, and Garvey was quick to hail Giants Of All Sizes’ striking artwork.

“We’ve got our best sleeve actually, with this record,” he told Music Week. “We’ve always made sleeves that worked as thumbnails, or at least, you know, since 2003. And this time, we thought, ‘Fuck that! Let’s do one that works great if you hold a gatefold sleeve in your hand’. We knew we wanted the crowd [depicted on the cover] to have as many faces as possible, because there’s nothing more fascinating than people. And we wanted something that could only happen in the 21st century: a modern crowd shot. It’s amazing. And when you first see all those people in the swimming pool, you think, ‘Oh my God, are they OK?’ Then you have a look closely and everybody is having a lovely time. And all of life is there for you to see: there’s couples flirting, old couples, kids and grandparents – everyone having a wonderful time. And these brightly coloured plastic flotation devices, become personal space organisers. It’s something that can only happen in this century: the biggest one of those pools in China holds 250,000 people. So we put that on the sleeve. And the lovely thing, I don’t think I’m ruining a surprise here, when you get the gatefold version and open it up, there’s a photograph twice the size [laughs]. It’s just relishing the lunacy of the 21st century.”

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