Reviewing a best-of album always seems like an exercise in futility. We all know the songs that are going to feature so the idea of giving it some kind of critical reception always seems a bit pointless, but since Elbow have managed to produce a hugely diverse collection of releases over the years, hearing their best work in one place does create an interesting journey. Especially since they have chosen to play them in an almost random order.
Bands like Elbow know that the tracklist of a record can be the most important decision within it. Creating an ebb and flow that keeps the listener engaged can usually benefit whatever direction the artist has chosen. But as we know Elbow would never willingly release a best-of album, and we understand that this is merely a cynical move from their record label to push out some extra sales at Christmas for the hard-to-buy-for Dads of the country. Which would probably explain why the opening track is their cover of The Beatles' 'Golden Slumbers', produced for this year's John Lewis ad.
Either way, this is still a remarkable reminder of just how brilliant they have been for the past 20 years. A truly retrospective mix of the most brilliant moments from over the years. Now who wouldn't want to find that under their Christmas tree?