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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elbow - The people's band
For the first time in their long career Elbow release an album as one of the mainstays of British music as opposed to a perennial aspiring contender. Its easy to forget that prior to the "Seldom Seen Kid" their album sales would not have been sufficient to fill a large Bury pub as opposed to a football stadium. Ok this is an exaggeration but in every sense Seldom Seen Kid...
Published on 7 Mar 2011 by Red on Black

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not One of Their Seminal Works!
Elbow are one of those bands who manage to get under your skin in a very subtle and sub-conscious manner. That was certainly the case with their previous album "The Seldom Seen Kid" which was like a fantastic novel - you could not put it down.

Sadly, this album is OK but lacks instant grab of previous albums. There is no one track that makes you want to click...
Published on 24 July 2011 by Clicker


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elbow - The people's band, 7 Mar 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Build A Rocket Boys! (Audio CD)
For the first time in their long career Elbow release an album as one of the mainstays of British music as opposed to a perennial aspiring contender. Its easy to forget that prior to the "Seldom Seen Kid" their album sales would not have been sufficient to fill a large Bury pub as opposed to a football stadium. Ok this is an exaggeration but in every sense Seldom Seen Kid was a game changer for a band who had looked like they might drift out music lauded with critical praise but lacking mass popular acclaim.

On this fifth album they quietly and confidentially produce a record, which shows a band comfortable in its own skin. It does have some echoes of their best album "Leaders of the Free World" which was packed with big songs and thoughtful ballads, which took a while to register with music lovers, but once they got it they were locked into the Elbow "cell" with the key thrown away. There was little chance of the band producing Seldom Seen Kid 2 not least since Guy Garvey has admitted that the lead up to the album consciously felt "like a last-chance effort last time," and as a result they threw in everything and the kitchen sink. Pressure comes in different forms and follow ups can be equally tricky but on "Build a rocket boys" Elbow have succeeded and more.

All Elbow albums can take months to digest and on the first listens the overwhelming impression is of a slow burn. From there on the songs reveal themselves and even at this early stage if Elbow were to release a Greatest Hits album tomorrow at least four of the songs on here would be shoe in's. The most obvious is the gorgeous centerpiece "Lippy Kids" the lyrics of which contain the albums title and which is a poignant meditation on being young where Garvey reflects on "Stealing booze and down long hungry kisses/And nobody knows me at home anymore". It leads to that regretful questioning readily understood to all people over a certain age that "Do they know those days are golden"? "Lippy Kids" is worth the price of admission alone, but it is matched by "Dear Friends" which derives to be played on repeat at least ten times and was is in Garvey's words devised "in the middle of a US tour, telling my friends I was thinking of them that day and it made me feel at home". It is simply breathtaking and will strike chords with anyone missing friends or family. The other songs which screams out on initial listens are the gentle acoustic heartbreak love song "Jesus was a Rochdale girl" which rolls along at a snails pace and is beautifully sung by Garvey while Open Arms is a classic Elbow ballad which I can't wait to hear live at their Cardiff gig later this month.

Throughout the album Craig Potter and the rest of the band weave those intricate haunting melodies and when they step up to the plate it's a force of nature, The big opener "The Birds" literally explodes at 5 minutes and is beautifully reprised later with their piano tuner John Mosley bringing an aged fragility to the song. In between you get the second hypnotic Elbow tribute to the late Brian Clancy "The night will always win" the more expansive mood guitar shifts of High ideals" and the swampy urban blues of the punchy "Neat little rows".

"Build a rocket boys" sees the quality control button on full. Granted it does not represent a huge departure for the band and "With Love" backed by many voices is a bit Elbow by formula. These are nonetheless nit picking complaints since Elbow has hit a winning formula but it is not one of either U2 bombast or Coldplay repetition. Elbow is a band where the music is about shade, nuances and beauty, as such "Build a Rocket boys" is a seductive treat and is destined to be lodged at the top of the album charts for a very long time.
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89 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 7 Mar 2011
This review is from: Build A Rocket Boys! (Audio CD)
The Seldom seen kid (released in early 2008) elevated Elbow from little known Bury band to Mercury Winning - stadium filling stars. Build a rocket boys! has been several years in the making and I was fortunate enough to have my copy drop through my letterbox several days before release so have managed several listens already. I have to say at this point that It takes me several listens to really appreciate Elbow songs and this album has seen no change. Songs such as Lippy kids have been widely promoted and this track is likely to be more of the band that most people know and love. However further listens show that Elbow know this terrain well, there are slow building songs here that are layered and complex and will take repeated listens to enjoy. The subjects of youth, love, loss and death are all here and Guy Garvey does a wonderful job of injecting so much emotion into his songs with what appears to be such ease. Nowhere else in the album is this so true than in The River a stripped back song of raw emotion that is simply beautiful. There is no change in direction here from Elbow, something that i think they should be highly commended for, they do here what they did so well on the TSSK. An album that propelled them to such a wider audience that there must have been both persuasion and temptation for them to write anthemic stadium songs - the closest that BARB! has is Neat little rows.
This album looks set to follow in the footsteps of TSSK with real pride and that in itself is a real achievement for Elbow to be proud of - and one that we will be enjoying for quite some time to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elbow., 25 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Build A Rocket Boys! (Audio CD)
When the highs are high and so are the lows you know you're listening to something special. Elbows highs are as lofty as any one else's this year, perhaps PJ Harvey wrote stronger material, perhaps Wild Beasts recorded the best song this year, but no-one comes close to the warm thoughtfulness that emanates from our metaphorical pillow, Guy Garvey; `Lippy Kids' for instance is almost choking in its beauty.

The aforementioned `high lows' are the masses pandering 'Open Arms' with its rather forced crescendo, and the odd Caribbean, complete with choir, sound of 'With Love'. The former is particularly out of place sandwiched between the simple, stripped back, 'The River' and 'The Birds (Reprise)' but as has already been suggested these songs are still strong, they are still quality pieces of music and deserve your attention. Perhaps one critique that could be levelled at Elbow is their lack of guile, their apparent desire to retain this rather un-ambitious equilibrium, this would perhaps seem a harsh observation considering their ability to move the listener but it is something worth mentioning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We came late to Elbow ( London 2012 ) what a joy it turned out to be !!!, 26 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Build A Rocket Boys! (Audio CD)
My CD collection numbers enough to start my own store ... this CD from Elbow has flown in to my top 100 and is likely to hit the top 50 at some time. Their live performances are a dream ... Elbow aren't a band, they are an experience, a performance and very, very wonderful !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Late Arrival, 17 Mar 2014
By 
Carl Hubbard (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Build A Rocket Boys! (Audio CD)
Whoops, namechecked ABBA there! Like the Swedish eurohits, Elbow's music is destined to become the sound of a generation, a comfortable pair of loafers you take out when you are feeling downtrodden and in need of an injection of ..something vital! They remind me of the first time I got into Roxy, every track is a statement, exhilarating the first time and only gets better with each listen. In a time of "r n b", a la Jay-z, etc., Elbow restore faith in true musical genius - Songwriting! Musicianship! Pathos! Angst! Truisms! Every track is like a movie - EPIC!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elbow's latest and best, 20 Jun 2014
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At last we have a modern group that create beautiful music. As a real oldie I have long lamented the common lack of of a blend of beautiful sounds and meaningful words in contemporary pop music. Elbow's "Build a Rocket Boys!" album is one of the best I've heard for years.Lyrical and meaningful and worth playing time and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumph, 11 May 2014
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This review is from: Build A Rocket Boys! (Audio CD)
Guy Garvey looks like a builder an everyday bloke then he opens his mouth and the voice of an angel erupts.Once again the words and music on this album are haunting and poetic.Elbow can do no wrong in my eyes
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not One of Their Seminal Works!, 24 July 2011
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Elbow are one of those bands who manage to get under your skin in a very subtle and sub-conscious manner. That was certainly the case with their previous album "The Seldom Seen Kid" which was like a fantastic novel - you could not put it down.

Sadly, this album is OK but lacks instant grab of previous albums. There is no one track that makes you want to click the replay button. Die hard Elbow fans will love it come what may but this is not one of their seminal works.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but for Elbow, a bit disappointing, 11 April 2011
By 
L. Stamford (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Build A Rocket Boys! (Audio CD)
When I first heard this album, I was disappointed. Unfortunately after a few plays, I'm still disappointed. If I'd never heard Elbow before, things might be different, but having been a huge fan of their previous albums (particularly Leaders of the Free World and The Seldon Seen Kid), this just isn't up to scratch in my opinion.

One of the main reasons I've been so impressed by Elbow in the past is the way they produce some of the most complex, perfectly orchestrated harmonies you'll ever hear. Unfortunately those are few and far between on this album.

'The Birds' is a great song and, as far as I'm concerned, saves the album. 'Lippy Kids' and 'Neat Little Rows' are fairly good. And that's pretty much it. 'With Love' is almost good, but personally I can't stand the choir that chant 'with love' every few seconds during the chorus. Just my opinion, but I find it really irritating. 'Open Arms' is a nice song, but it's a bit too obvious, musically and lyrically.

I'd still say Elbow are one of the greatest British bands of the last decade, and this album's worth a listen, but in my opinion it's a long way from their best work. Sorry guys.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rocket of a record., 9 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Build A Rocket Boys! (Audio CD)
This is a delightful album from start to finish and I am very glad to see the lads have carefully hewn a blissful, characterful, honest and organic piece of art by doing exactly what they want to do.

The massive highlight for me is "The Birds", a powerful and moving piece with the hypnotic melody taking us on a journey at first floating on top of grimy industrial guitar then over Gabrielesque electronics and suddenly to fly to the heavens on a fulsome sweeping orchestration which was for me literally breathtaking. Guys voice goes from the chanting mantra of the first part to emotional belting, never missing a trick. A really cracking track, very uplifting and chill & tear-inducing. A new Newborn of ever there was one.

I've already come to love "High Ideals", thumping bassline and quick tom-toms as a canvas to a clever conversations between guitar, strings and keyboards, it sounds like a musical chain reaction is taking place and there is a vaguely Oriental pentatonic motif punctuating the track. Wonderful textures and so Elbow.

A very untypical track is "The River", a plaintive and undeniably beautiful song, ebbing and flowing like a tide. It is beautifully sparse and delicate like early Kate Bush or possibly later stuff from Cinematic Orchestra. I just wish it was longer.

The album has its eminently chantable anthems in "Open Arms" and "Neat Little Rows" which are typically warm and truly uplifting but I feel it is unavoidable that virtually every TV incidental music technician will be deploying excerpts as soon as they can - you have been warned. Guy's openness and poetic soul are more then evident on track like "Jesus.." and "Dear Friends"

Another unmitigated and unapologetic triumph.
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