Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
After the The Seldom Seen Kid, Elbow seemed to be everywhere, on everything, winning everything. It won the Mercury Prize at home, and even made a most surprising, but welcome, splash in the US. It was a statement album, which I believe was probably unintentional. However, the tracks were so strong, they really could not, and would not, be denied for long.
This album isn’t a continuation of the previous effort. So if you’re looking for “Grounds For Divorce”, you will be disappointed at first, but not for long. The strength in this album starts at the very first, and one of the best tracks of 2011, on the album: “The Birds”. It’s a builder sort of a track, with a long first verse, followed by a nice Yes-type of breakdown about three minutes in, then you quickly ascend up the mountain with the band, rolling with the great bass/percussion/strings. It’s a very comfortable track – meaning it has a “we know we’re good at what we’re doing right now” feel. This feeling permeates the entire album.
There really isn’t a let down on the entire album, with some nice standouts like “Lippy Kids” and “Neat Little Rows”. The reprise to the first track puts the album into another level, with the verses sung by what sounds like someone’s grandfather, with a church choir backing him. It’s a poignant moment that brings everything home, which is fitting because of the fact that the album was recorded with an admitted nostalgic feeling.
Grade: B+…..not better than The Seldom Seen Kid, but it does advance them as one of the most consistently great bands in the world. Worthy of purchase, in what your local currency might be.