Fifth full-length from the British indie-rock favourites and the follow-up to their Mercury winning 2008 album The Seldom Seen Kid.
It took a while (four albums in fact) for Elbow to achieve the proper commercial success that they found with 2008’s The Seldom Seen Kid. That’s not necessarily because the band suddenly made any major stylistic changes or had a sudden push to write a more radio-friendly album, it just seems that it took the mainstream a few years to catch up with the not-quite-stadium-rock music that Elbow have always been making.
The position that they occupy, they do very well - not particularly experimental or wilfully obtuse, but never quite as straight-forwardly accessible as say Coldplay or U2 - and on Build A Rocket Boys! Elbow continue to do more of the same without letting the quality slip.
The song structures and chord progressions are all fairly accessible, melodic stuff but the band have obviously put a lot of time and effort into lovingly crafting string arrangements and multi-layered guitar parts rather than going for instantly big choruses. As ever vocalist Guy Garvey’s lyrical content is relatively unremarkable, but his delivery on songs like Lippy Kids and Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl is passionate and warm.
Even with success Elbow will never be egotistic stadium rockers, they’re still just a group of bearded Northern men who make semi-anthemic rock music with a bit of heart.
They will inevitably play the sundown slot at Glastonbury, their songs will appear on numerous trailers for BBC nature documentaries and sports broadcasts, the festival-going masses will enjoy it, Elbow will keep doing what they’re doing and there’ll be no complaints here.