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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Build a Rocket Boys!", Elbow keeps defying gravity

Build a Rocket Boys!- Elbow
If the music world/industry we have to suffer had to do something with talent, personality or composing skills, Elbow would be among the most famous bands. They deserve it. They have built a flawless career, and a very idiosyncratic one, having created a voice totally of their own. Success was neglected to them during years, while they we're realising better music than 95% of their music generation. And once they reach it, they decide to go for a "less is more" approach with their fifth album..

Having said that though, one has to admit that, although very far from being disappointed, I do feel "Build a Rocket Boys!" doesn't have the brilliance of the "The Seldom Seen Kid", or more specifically, it doesn't have the amount of superb tunes their previous effort had.

Is not something that has to do with the start of the album. "The Birds" has a roaring background, enchanting double voices, then it multiplies, becoming a cascade of sounds. Then we have the subtlety of "Lippy Kids", a song that easily stands upon the best of their catalogue. A composer's (and lyricist) dream, and with Guy Garvey at his best (terrific voice during all the record). And it is followed by the disarmingly lovely "With Love" (you can imagine how the crowds will eagerly await for their moment in that song) and the rockiest song of the pack, the space-sounding "Neat Little Rows".

Unfortunately, the rest of the record is not as exciting. Don't get me wrong, there's not a bad song in here, or a filler. "Open Arms" is gorgeous, with Elbow's trademark gift for soaring choruses intact, as well as the lyrics of "Jesus is a Rochdale Girl" or the touching end of "Dear Friends". No, the problem, if any, might be the sense that the album becomes, as a whole, a bit too "relaxed" or stripped back and more of an "intimate affair" (which makes sense considering the album goes back into memories, youth and friendship). But then again, Elbow's music is warm and enduring, beautifully crafted, and what it is even more impressive: is honest and genuine.

SCORE: 7/10

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