Album Review: Elbow ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’

A full decade since the release of their debut album, Elbow follow-up 2008’s Mercury Award and Ivor-Novello-winning ‘Seldom Seen Kid’ with their latest effort.  Their previous album’s lead singles ‘Grounds For Divorce’ and ‘One Day Like This’ were so successful, Elbow were propelled into dizzy new heights, appearing at Glastonbury & Latitude festivals in 2008, and supporting the likes of Coldplay & U2 in 2009. In the space of one album, they went from performing at intimate one-off gigs to entire stadiums.

It’s safe to say then, that expectations for this album were high.

New fans wanted more of singer Guy Garvey’s heavily-accented choirboy vocals, but old fans feared a cop-out of Kings Of Leon-esque proportions, knowing that an album full of ‘One Day Like This‘ duplicates would never work. Perhaps the success had gone to their head and this new album will be filled with songs of touring and press attention?

I’m happy to report that ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ doesn’t disappoint.

“The birds are the keepers of our secrets”.

Opener The Birds’ begins reassuringly, with low-key maracas & guitars, before moving into a huge, breathtaking orchestration.

‘Lippy Kids’ is another epic, introducing simple, mesmerising piano notes and building into a soaring chorus:

“Lippy kids on the corner again…do they know those days are golden?”

‘Jesus is a Rochdale Girl’ brings a mellow, thoughtful break in the middle of the album – a song about moving in to a new house.

“A single yellow duvet, a single switch to flick, but a thousand boxes yet to tick.”

As with their other albums, Guy Garvey brings poetic lyrics and tender, heartfelt vocals to each track. There’s something incredibly honest about his voice, a thick northern accent singing songs of angels, drunks, social centres, and heartbreak.

With ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’, Elbow are proclaiming their status as an album band. This is a record to listen to without any distractions, all the way from beginning to end.

Sublime.

If you don’t buy the album, download: The Birds, Lippy Kids, Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl.

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