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Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!

March 14, 2011

Elbow quietly released an album last week with the fun title of Build a Rocket Boys!. Quietly is a great adjective to describe this album as a whole, with Elbow introspectively turning back to youth, love, loss, and relationships. When looking to their entire discography, one finds they continue to release quality albums, culminating in The Seldom Seen Kid (2008), winner of the Mercury Prize that year. If there was any pressure for the new album after that one, Elbow sure don’t show any of it on this one. Instead, this album is entirely comfortable in what it is; it doesn’t try to be anything that it is not, and it especially isn’t a work by a band trying to repeat success. The Seldom Seen Kid is in this sense a fluke. Not that it is a bad album, but when held up against their other albums, it does not follow the same musical narrative as much. Build a Rocket Boys! does continue this narrative and is a welcome return to the old form of one of the best adult alternative bands in the world. Here’s a challenge for you: legally acquire all of Elbow’s music (I recommend GrooveShark) and listen to it. All of it. And not just once. Many many times. Then ask yourself, ‘Who is this Coldplay that everyone is so excited about?’

After hearing Build A Rocket Boys!, that is the exact question I ask myself. This band displays a consistency that is uncanny. They really have yet to release a bad album. While some may think that this might detract from the overall quality of their albums, it actually is a strength. You can literally hear the maturity and growth in every new album that Elbow releases.

Please acquaint yourself with this Manchester-based band. This is a band who writes about love fondly and maturely, who expresses musical poetry beautifully, and who deserves the ear of the serious music listener.

And what more can be said about this album? It is strong, it is powerful, it is mature, it is quiet. The opening track, “The Birds”, flies into such beautiful poetry and strings that I felt my mind soar away with it. On this album, the slowest songs are the catchiest ones, the ones that stick with you. There is a single, or as much of a single could exist on this beautiful piece of art: “Neat Little Rows.” Even so, buy the entire thing. One of the reasons that Radiohead was so against the idea of iTunes was that they were concerned about people just buying singles without enjoying the album as a whole. Elbow is the same way. They create albums that are complete works of art. Why would you cut off a small piece of a painting to look at? In the same way, just downloading the single is just hindering yourself from hearing a musical masterpiece.

An easy recommendation to make, and, as a plus, so far in my many listens I have heard no swearing, so it is an album safe for the whole family! Buy your copy immediately!

Build A Rocket Boys! was released in the UK and digitally on 03/07/2011. It will be released in the United States on 04/12/2011. Buy it here! Or here!

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