"Dexter & Sinister" takes its title from heraldry where Dexter (Right) and Sinister (Left) represent the two sides of a shield bearing a coat of arms. The song finds singer Guy Garvey grappling with the UK's uncertain future.
Loss is a part of life this long
But Dexter and Sinister?
I've the heaviest heart jackhammering in me
Garvey explained the track deals with "a great, big, bewildered question dealing with my feelings on Brexit, the loss of family and friends and the general sense of disaffection you see all around at the moment."
The seven-minute track blends bluesy basslines and subtle electronica. The song was initially recorded at Hamburg Clouds Hill Studios, where the old-fashioned analog equipment encouraged Elbow to experiment and play live in the room. "We haven't sat around and played like that in a long time," explained keyboard player Craig Potter. "The looseness in the track definitely comes from us playing live in the room and, on the second part; we decided not to play to a click to really allow the tune to breathe."
The song features additional vocals from long term friend of the band, Jesca Hoop. The Californian folk singer-songwriter supported Elbow on the American tour of their The Seldom Seen Kid album.
Guy Garvey lost two friends within a week while making Giants of All Sizes:
Jan Oldenburg who ran the Night and Day cafe in Manchester, where Elbow used to hang out in their early days.
Scott Alexander who owned Manchester venues Big Hands and The Temple.
The track was inspired, in part, by Garvey's reflections on the passing of the two Manchester music-scene devotees. He told The Sun: "The song 'Dexter & Sinister' represents two sides of a shield. I imagined Manchester's coat of arms without its lion and antelope."