Cast of Thousands

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This article is about the Elbow album. For the Adverts album, see Cast of Thousands (Adverts album).
Cast of Thousands
Cast of Thousands.jpg
Studio album by Elbow
Released 18 August 2003 (UK)
27 January 2004 (US)
Recorded 2002-2003 at Parr Street Studios, Liverpool [1]
Genre Alternative rock, art rock
Length 50:09
Label V2
Producer Ben Hillier, Elbow
Elbow chronology
Asleep in the Back
Cast of Thousands
Leaders of the Free World
Singles from Cast of Thousands
  1. "Fallen Angel"
    Released: 4 August 2003
  2. "Fugitive Motel"
    Released: 27 October 2003
  3. "Not a Job"
    Released: 23 February 2004
  4. "Grace Under Pressure"/"Switching Off"
    Released: 12 July 2004
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars [2]
The A.V. Club 8/10 stars [3]
BBC Music (highly favourable) [4]
The Guardian 4/5 stars [5]
The Independent 3/5 stars [6]
MusicOMH (highly favourable) [7]
NME 9/10 stars [8]
Pitchfork Media (7.8/10) [9]
PopMatters (favourable) [10]
Stylus Magazine A [11]
Yahoo! Music 7/10 stars [12]

Cast of Thousands is the second album by English alternative rock band Elbow, released on 18 August 2003 in the UK and on 27 January 2004 in the US by V2 Records. The album title refers to the song "Grace Under Pressure", whose refrain was recorded live at the Glastonbury Festival in 2002, as sung by the audience during the band's set. Participants were then invited to register their names at the Elbow website, with all responders gaining a 'credit' on the album sleeve. The US version of the album contains two additional songs: "Whisper Grass" (which was a B-side to first single "Fallen Angel") and "Lay Down Your Cross" (a B-side to third single "Not a Job"). The Japanese version includes "Whisper Grass" and "Brave New Shave" (another "Fallen Angel" B-side) as bonus tracks.

A companion film was also produced in conjunction with the album's release. It features footage set to all 11 tracks on the UK version of the album, as well as the music videos for the singles "Fallen Angel" and "Fugitive Motel". In the UK the film was released on DVD, whereas in the US it was released as an enhanced video bonus disc with the album.

Album cover[edit]

The two characters on the album cover were 10 feet (3.0 m) tall female and male polystyrene figures, named "Elle" and "Bo", which were originally placed by the side of the M1 motorway near Mansfield, but were removed by police following reported "alien" sightings by passing drivers.[13] Following the conclusion of the promotional activities for the record, the models were auctioned for charity.[14]

Track listing[edit]

UK version[edit]

All songs written and composed by Elbow; all lyrics by Guy Garvey

No. Title Length
1. "Ribcage"   6:27
2. "Fallen Angel"   4:07
3. "Fugitive Motel"   5:51
4. "Snooks (Progress Report)"   4:00
5. "Switching Off"   5:05
6. "Not a Job"   4:23
7. "I've Got Your Number"   4:48
8. "Buttons and Zips"   3:57
9. "Crawling with Idiot"   4:41
10. "Grace Under Pressure"   4:57
11. "Flying Dream 143"   1:48
  • "Snooks (Progress Report)" takes its name from blind blues singer and guitarist Snooks Eaglin[15]
Japanese version bonus tracks
No. Title Length
12. "Whisper Grass" (B-side of "Fallen Angel" CD1 in the UK) 4:29
13. "Brave New Shave" (B-side of "Fallen Angel" CD2 in the UK) 3:47

US version[edit]

All songs written and composed by Elbow; all lyrics by Guy Garvey. 

No. Title Length
1. "Ribcage"   6:27
2. "Fallen Angel"   4:07
3. "Fugitive Motel"   5:51
4. "Snooks (Progress Report)"   4:00
5. "Switching Off"   5:05
6. "Not a Job"   4:23
7. "I've Got Your Number"   4:48
8. "Whisper Grass"   4:29
9. "Buttons and Zips"   3:57
10. "Lay Down Your Cross" (B-side of "Not a Job" in the UK) 4:40
11. "Crawling with Idiot"   4:41
12. "Grace Under Pressure"   4:57
13. "Flying Dream 143"   1:48

Cast of Thousands film version[edit]

(released 3 November 2003 in UK, 27 January 2004 in US):

Disc one

As the standard album release in each country (11 tracks in UK, 13 tracks in US)

Disc two

(released as a DVD in UK, and as an enhanced CD-ROM in US)


In the UK, there were four singles released from the album:

  • "Ribcage" was released as an online track in May 2003 but was never a full single.
  • "Fallen Angel" (4 August 2003)
  • "Fugitive Motel" (27 October 2003)
  • "Not a Job" (23 February 2004)
  • "Grace Under Pressure"/"Switching Off" EP (12 July 2004)

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Additional vocals on "Ribcage" - The London Community Gospel Choir
  • Strings on "Fugitive Motel" and "Crawling with Idiot" (arranged by Ian Burdge):
    • Ian Burdge, Chris Worsey - cello
    • Stephen Bussey, Catherine Browning, Everton Nelson, Maya Bickel, Alison Dods, Gillon Cameron, Giles Broadbent & Sally Herbert - violins
  • Additional vocals on "Grace Under Pressure" - The London Community Gospel Choir, Jimi Goodwin, Alfie, Marcus Garvey, Beckie Garvey, Gina Garvey, Cathy Davey & the crowd at Glastonbury 2002 (Marcus, Beckie and Gina Garvey are singer Guy Garvey's brother and sisters)


  1. ^ Biography section on Elbow official website
  2. ^ Kellman, Andy. Elbow: Cast of Thousands > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  3. ^ Murray, Noel (10 February 2004). "Review: Cast of Thousands". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Davies, Lucy (15 August 2003). "Review: Cast of Thousands". BBC Music. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (15 August 2003). "Review: Cast of Thousands". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Gill, Andy (15 August 2003). "Review: Cast of Thousands". The Independent. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Murphy, John. "Review: Cast of Thousands". MusicOMH. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Naylor, Tony (2 September 2003). "Review: Cast of Thousands". NME. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Goldstein, Hartley (11 January 2004). "Review: Cast of Thousands". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Cober-Lake, Justin (5 January 2004). "Review: Cast of Thousands". PopMatters. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Southall, Nick (1 September 2003). "Review: Cast of Thousands". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  12. ^ Mulvey, John (13 August 2003). "Review: Cast of Thousands". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Giant 'Aliens' Get The Elbow!". NME. 2 July 2004. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  14. ^ Barstein, Brand (6 November 2009). "Elbow: exclusive interview". Q. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  15. ^ Snooks Eaglin