Artist – Album: Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys!
Released: 4th March 2011
Sounds Like: Old Elbow
Tonight I go to a Sigur Rós gig (yay!), but today it’s Elbow that I’ll be blogging about. The two bands may have come from wildly different places – both in terms of style and geography (people in Bury, Elbow’s hometown, know Iceland only as the place that Kerry Katona and Stacey Solomon get their Christmas dinners from) – but their lengthy careers they’ve actually begun to follow the same lines.
Sigur Ros first made an international impression with the release of Ágætis byrjun, their second album and one chock full of glacial, epic soundscapes, but it was their fourth effort Takk…, and the song ‘Hoppípolla’, in particular that made them household names. That track soon became the BBC’s go to tune for uplifting music, soundtracking every single bloody montage and trailer they released between 2005 and 2008, until it was supplanted by Elbow’s own ‘One Day Like This’.
Elbow’s own path to that particular crowd pleaser came from far less captivating, quieter beginnings. They scored a critical success with their debut album Asleep in the Back, but their penchant for acoustic melancholy and experimental wiggery meant that it didn’t really stick with the punters. However, they developed a penchant for penning anthemic singalongs culminating with 2008’s The Seldom Seen Kid.
After achieving commercial recognition, however, both groups went into their shells. Sigur Rós’ latest album Valtari reverts to sonic introspection and icy mood pieces. And this, Build a Rocket Boys!, is much less like Coldplay or Snow Patrol and more like the Elbow of old. It can be sombre and sparse, but it’s effective and affecting. Guy Garvey has a wonderful gruff voice and a knack of making everyday occurrences resonate. In both cases, they may be a change in direction but they’re welcome here.
Now to gig!
Albumaday... rating: 6/10
1. The Birds – 8:03
2. Lippy Kids – 6:06
3. With Love – 4:12
4. Neat Little Rows – 5:39
5. Jesus Is a Rochdale Girl – 3:18
6. The Night Will Always Win – 4:24
7. High Ideals – 5:39
8. The River – 2:51
9. Open Arms – 4:53
10. The Birds (reprise) – 1:31
11. Dear Friends – 5:01
Listen to ‘Jesus Is a Rochdale Girl’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGzIm7Ylkqw