Lee’s Listening Stack – Elbow – ‘Build a Rocket Boys!
Build a Rocket Boys!
After four albums of what the band itself famously referred to as “prog without the solos,” Elbow has produced their warmest, most reassuring effort yet, one that’s embossed with a luminous glow and a sound etched with beauty and framed by sheer emotion. Singer Guy Harvey has never sounded so radiant; indeed, his vocal on both the title track – and its entreating chorus in particular — and “Dear Friends,” the solemn, subdued ballad that bids the album farewell, rank among the most gorgeous entries in Elbow’s catalogue. This is as spectacular an affair as any British band of their ilk has offered in recent memory, and while comparisons to Keane and Coldplay may continue to haunt them, it’s obvious they’ve advanced well beyond that starting block. Given the fact that no producer is listed among the credits – and that Harvey himself was charged with the arrangements – Elbow themselves (Garvey, keyboardist Craig Potter, guitarist Mark Potter, bassist Pete Turner and drummer Richard Jupp) can claim this victory wholly on their own, further evidence that these Mercury Prize winners deserve the kudos they’ve been accorded. Always a thinking man’s band – their 2005 opus, Leaders of the Free World was noted for its political commentary and media observations – Build a Rocket Boys! demonstrates that their thoughtful approach remains intact, evident in the careful rumination of songs like “The Birds,” and its pensive reprise, plus “Jesus Is a Rochdale Girl,” and ”The River,” all of which are so carefully crafted that modesty and majesty are thoroughly intertwined. When things turn celebratory, as on “Neat Little Rows” and “Open Arms,” the sense of triumph is palpable, with brass and choir adding to the collective triumph. Elbow again proves themselves to be one class act, and with Build a Rocket Boys! they’ve hit new heights. – Lee Zimmerman
Lee Zimmerman is a contributor to a variety of publications, including Blurt, M Music & Musicians, New Times, Goldmine and Amplifier
This review appears courtesy of Amplifier, 50,000 Watts of Non-Stop Indie Rock http://amplifiermagazine.blogspot.com/