Thursday, 24 March 2011

What I think of that new Elbow album.

If strenuous records are anathema to your ears, you might not go in for Elbow singles.

But, with this in mind, you may decide this is why Build a Rocket Boys! works. Elbow are a band at the top of their game but this album is not about cynical, grandiose thinking and meaty chart fodder. Unlike 2008's comparatively noisy, The Seldom Seen Kid, you'll find softer layers here. There's spades of ambition but it's deftly achieved and luckily they're not afraid to make an album that whispers.

If so far, you haven't been drawn into the hype around Elbow, be prepared to overlook some of their singles and use this as an excuse for a turnaround. In any case, this album isn't about the chart releases.

Lippy Kids is searing, swirling and harmonious. From an album released at a comfortable stage in their career, this song is as humble as it is prepossessing. Reassuring, is their determination to put the effort in, now as much as ever and Garvey knows his music. A staid radio presenter - his slot on BBC 6 Music can, notwithstanding, be an education.

I miss your stupid face, he crows, in The Night Will Always Win. In keeping with Dylan's Idiot Wind from Blood On The Tracks, the memory of times past is still raw and there's a nice down-to-earth candour.

Jesus is a Rochdale Girl rocks us along in its carriage, but simpers out to a shadowy conclusion and fitting in with the smooth ride of the album, the ending is effective.

The steel band in In With Love, is an interesting, textural inclusion, but for a few seconds during the high notes, there's a danger of Garvey sounding like Chris Martin. And you don't wanna be doing that.

In a sentence, then: There's so much more to Elbow than their creeping, bold singles and the subtle, almost holy delicateness of most tracks, makes this quite brilliant.

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