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Build a Rocket Boys!

Album: Build a Rocket Boys!
# Song Title   Time
1)    Birds, The
2)    Lippy Kids
3)    With Love
4)    Neat Little Rows
5)    Jesus Is a Rochdale Girl
6)    Night Will Always Win, The
7)    High Ideals
8)    River, The
9)    Open Arms
10)    Birds, The (Reprise)
11)    Dear Friends
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Guy Garvey (vocals); Mark Potter (guitar); Craig Potter (keyboards); Richard Jupp (drums).
  • Audio Mixer: Craig Potter.
  • Recording information: Blueprint Studios, Salford; Elbow Rooms; Real World Studios, Bath; The Barn, Cheshire; The Church House, Isle of Mull.
  • Illustrator: Oliver East.
  • Build a Rocket Boys! is Elbow's first release since winning the Mercury Prize with The Seldom Seen Kid. Following that multi-platinum behemoth is no easy task, particularly for a 20-year-old band whose modest, "aw shucks" demeanor makes Chris Martin seem like a braggart. On these 11 tracks, though, Elbow continues its ascent from cult band to stadium filler, skirting all but the outermost orbits of mainstream pop while focusing on innovative, lushly textured songwriting. Elbow has rarely sounded like anyone else, yet Build a Rocket Boys! draws enough parallels to hitmakers to make it relevant in 2011, finding some sort of left-field compromise between Snow Patrol's arena anthems and Sigur R¢s' sonic exploration. At the center of the creative storm is Guy Garvey, who sings about the mundane in a way that elevates it to stadium grandeur. The lyrics are specific -- Garvey croons about childhood plans, middle-aged reality, and everyday people who aspire to something greater -- but the music is imaginative and open-ended, with guitars that fade into the ether and arrangements that include vintage organs, electronics, orchestral percussion, harmonies, and the echoing ambience of the recording studio itself. On "High Ideals," the band locks into a globetrotting trip-hop groove, flirting with a Middle Eastern scale before cooling things off with mariachi horns. A gospel choir makes its way into the next song, "The River," but the song's thick vocal harmonies are used sparingly, serving as a minimalist backdrop rather than a chest-swelling climax. Build a Rocket Boys! knows when to push forward and when to pull back, and its songs find the accessibility in out-of-the-box thinking without alienating either side of Elbow's audience: the longtime fans who worry about losing their band to the mainstream, and the recent converts who climbed aboard after The Seldom Seen Kid's success. ~ Andrew Leahey
Professional Reviews
Spin (p.76) - "[T]here's tremendous attention to detail, particularly on the the swooning 'Lippy Kids' and glorious, gospelly 'With Love'....This is capital-A Art rock without pretense..."

Q (Magazine) (p.98) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's an album that maximises the use of light and shade, texture and mood....Nobody does serious music like Elbow do..."

Paste (magazine) - "This is an artfully conceived and executed, heartfelt and evocative work..."

Uncut (magazine) (p.82) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's a quietly beautiful record: anthemic, but not bombastic, introspective yet universal, simply drawn but beautifully coloured in."
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