‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ (Fiction)
If ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ launched Elbow from indie underdogs to 2010’s surprise stadium-fillers, ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ sees the maudlin Mancunians hit their stride with nascent pride. Now that ‘One Day Like This’ has become nigh-on ubiquitous, Elbow have earned an eclectic army of both belligerent footy fans and poetic chin-strokers, but thankfully their fifth album challenges its newly acquired listeners’ ears with a plethora of expertly-loaded ammo. Never a band for showy returns, ‘The Birds’ is a steady and soaring opener, whilst the warm murmur of ‘With Love’ and ‘Open Arms’’s choir add meat to the delicate bones the five-piece so wonderfully puppeteer, relaying all the euphoric vigour of ‘Grace Under Pressure’’s joyous Glastonbury’s chant. The burbling guitars on ‘Neat Little Rows’ provide the perfect backdrop as Garvey instructs – “Lay my bones in neat little rows” – a deliberately morbid anthem; a reassuring nod to their sceptical old fans that they’ve mastered the sing-along whilst remaining the fatalistic northerners they’ve always been. Filled with quiet moments of stirring of beauty, arm-raising jubilance and enlightening lyricism, ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ – masterfully mixed and produced by the band’s Craig Potter – celebrates Elbow’s extraordinary integrity. A truly brilliant return.