EP: Elbow ‘Lost Worker Bee’


‘Lost Worker Bee’ is the title track of Mancunian veterans, Elbow’s new EP and is written on accolades of their beloved hometown. Nostalgia plays a big part in each song and we are given an insightful look in to the characters that laid the foundations to their metropolitan masterpiece.

With the title track and opener a self-explanatory quest for love from a blue-collar worker, front man Guy Garvey narrates the story perfectly, lulling romantic lyrics through his rich northern dialect. A busy, repetitive piano riff dominates the background, with distinguished harmonies building to a crescendo typical of Elbow’s stature.

‘And It Snowed’ doesn’t quite have the same single-worthy appeal as the title track and is more simple in style, with less layers and an uncomplicated vocal melody, though Garvey still manages to portray a strong sense of patriotism. “Something to tide the fans over with” between solo and collaborative projects, Lost Worker Bee doesn’t have the strength or hype that a new album probably should, and feels more like the extra songs that didn’t make the final cut for a future project.

Over their twenty five year career span, they have stayed almost too true to their sound, without any hint of a reinvention and ‘Roll Call’ has Elbow’s archaic structure written all over it, soft harmonies complimenting every guitar strum and tap of percussion. They are very much the pioneers of this sound, which can be appreciated by long standing fans, however new audiences are less likely to latch onto something that doesn’t possess a fresh outlook when it comes to new material.

‘Unusually Bright’ ends the four track EP in a solemn acoustic slumber. “The saddest journey ever made begins today and ends tomorrow”. Lyrically, Garvey is undoubtedly hugely talented, though this is not the most upbeat of compilations, with a bleak outlook on life dominating the overall feel of the EP. All four songs could easily slot into any of their albums having such similar musical arrangements. We do however have to appreciate that they have stayed true to themselves and to their fans, without the need for reinvention.

Lost Worker Bee is Elbow’s whole manner personified and is a pleasant listen, though if it were down to distinguishable qualities, this EP is as manotonous as its subject matter.

Lost Worker Bee is out now via Polydor Ltd.

Natasha Moran


Tash Moran

Tash Moran

Leicester based writer and photographer