Granted, their rainy industrial hometown of Manchester, England, has helped inspire Elbow's darkly romantic, melancholic pop. But how well has the hard-drinking city primed the quintet -- whose latest effort, ''Cast of Thousands'' (Jan. 27), is garnering favorable comparisons to the likes of Radiohead and Coldplay -- for bending the proverbial elbow? That was the question as we sat down with the lads for a few at East 4th Street Bar in Manhattan's East Village, where they downed Jager and assessed the dubious merits of Transylvanian one-hit wonders -- and their inability to get laid.
ROUND 1 The Best-Laid Plans
GUY GARVEY (vocals, guitar), Bloody Mary We've got things to do tonight, but nothing we can't do drunk.
PETE TURNER (bass), Stella Artois Aren't we going to see the Thrills?
GUY Yeah -- but we're going to go drunk!
ROUND 2 The Worst-Laid Plans
GUY, Bloody Mary There's never been a punch thrown in the band. Or a slap. But me and Pete have had a couple of dances...
PETE, Bloody Mary But it had nothing to do with music. We stayed in London [while mixing the last record], went out, got pissed on a Friday, spent all our money that was supposed to last us the weekend, and we didn't get laid -- and because of that we had a fight! It was the lamest fight ever.
ROUND 3 'Battle' Star to Infiltrate!
GUY, Black Bush whiskey, Stella Artois chaser I met Dirk Benedict [Lieutenant Starbuck from ''Battlestar Galactica''] a couple of months ago. We were on a show together in the U.K. called ''Liquid News.'' He was doing a ''Battlestar Galactica'' conference. He was trying to get me to introduce him to the Cheeky Girls [a Transylvanian sister-act pop duo infamous for their 2002 novelty hit, ''Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)''].
PETE, vodka tonic They're horrible.
GUY Pete bet me 20 quid that I wouldn't ask them how much for full sex. They probably would have wanted rubles. Or bags of blood.
ROUND 4 Um, Coffee, Anyone?
GUY, Black Bush whiskey, Stella Artois; PETE, vodka tonic; CRAIG POTTER (keyboards), Bloody Mary; MARK POTTER (guitar), vodka tonic; RICHARD JUPP (drums), Bloody Mary [All singing along to the jukebox and Queens of the Stone Age's ''Feel Good Hit of the Summer''] Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, Ecstasy, and alcohol!
ROUND 5 Did Somebody Say ''Free Willy''?
PETE, Jagermeister Guy, show your tongue!
MARK, Jagermeister C'mon, do ''the whale''!
GUY, Jagermeister [Reluctant] I don't want to damage my hot-babe appeal.
RICHARD, Jagermeister C'mon! [Guy, bowing to drunken peer pressure, does ''the whale,'' an inexplicable act of contortion with his tongue.]
ALL [Chugging the Jagermeister] Cheers!
GUY [Having untwisted his tongue back to normal] I need to go for a piss.