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 build a rocket boys! reviews

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elbowismymuse
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Sun 06 Mar 2011, 02:05

That's an amazing account of the song and its effects on you, Alyngibson. Some songs really can have that effect and it's quite overwhelming when they do.

The tune itself irks me but I can't deny the lyrical poignancy of the song, nor the fact that the rest of the song, outside the chorus, is pretty damn good. I mean, if this is (my idea of) only so-so for Elbow, they're doing a pretty grand job. It's 10 times better than most output these days.

It also may grow on me. It's weird - I don't get "Grace Under Pressure" either.... and there is a similarity of sound there....the chanting chorus numbers, if sentimental, don't do much for me. I don't get McCartney's "Hey Jude!" either.... it's a style thing, I think. Wink

For me ODLT works because I think it's a tad more unusual musically... it's chanty but only at the end of the song.... a good proportion of it is a steady climb to the chanty bit that then acts as the crescendo rather than a chorus. Smile
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Paulo Paulo
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Sun 06 Mar 2011, 02:18

I've only heard the album once and I think it's a beautiful record.

The Birds was the MAJOR standout for me...Neat Little Rows, Rochdale Girl and Dear Friends also making a great first impression.

The River is gorgeous but fully expected (or rather wished for) a big build up!

Only track not to hit home (for me) was With Love.

But this is only after one listen!
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Sun 06 Mar 2011, 13:44

"Build a Rocket Boys! is, if anything, a more densely wooded listen than its predecessor, thrumming with analogue synths and Garvey's woollen mutter. There is a touch of Heath Robinson to Rocket's nuances – shaker percussion, whistling, whirring, electric piano. It is all quite lovely – insidious, unassuming, yet potent."
The Observer

"Build a Rocket Boys! swaps Seldom Seen Kid’s stirring anthems for a more reflective, settled style, the work of musicians operating from a new position of security, not plucky underdogs striving to grab their moment."
Financial Times, 4/5
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allyngibson
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Mon 07 Mar 2011, 00:50

elbowismymuse wrote:
That's an amazing account of the song and its effects on you, Alyngibson. Some songs really can have that effect and it's quite overwhelming when they do.
Please, ElbowIsMyMuse, call me Allyn. Everyone does. Smile

I've found that when I connect with an Elbow song, I connect with it in a way that it worms its way into my psyche and reaches emotional depths that I often keep guarded. I feel at times that Guy writes the lyrics and the band writes the music, if not just for me, then certainly for all the lonely INFPs in the world.

(INFP. It's a personality type on the Myers-Briggs scale.)

But that's nonsense. There aren't enough INFPs in the world to support a band like Elbow. We're a sensitive sort, true, but we're not a numerous tribe by any stretch. Smile

Quote :
It also may grow on me. It's weird - I don't get "Grace Under Pressure" either.... and there is a similarity of sound there....the chanting chorus numbers, if sentimental, don't do much for me. I don't get McCartney's "Hey Jude!" either.... it's a style thing, I think. Wink
I admit that I'm iffy on "Grace Under Pressure." The main lyric doesn't do much for me, the incongruity of the song's most famous line amuses me, and it's the overall "sound" of the song that enthralls me the most. Maybe I'd feel differently if I ever got to see the song live and chant the line. Smile

And I've never gotten "Hey Jude." And I'm saying this as a serious Beatles fan. I like the song. I love John Lennon's profanity at 2:56. I've been told what the song is about and what it means. And I don't get the emotional climax from the song at all. Smile
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ChrissieInFL
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Mon 07 Mar 2011, 01:16

elbowismymuse wrote:
9. Open Arms.

We've hit a minor stumbling block. I am not that crazy about this song. Not yet anyway. The verse is really nice, and it's on lyrical top-form as ever - I love what the song is about. However, the chorus actually really annoys me at the moment. It's a microwave-meal of a contender for a single, but I have to say, it's no One Day Like This. The melody is immediate and not exactly offensive but it's.....how can I put this politely? Just a bit boring. Elbow? Boring?

Maybe it'll grow on me but I have to say that if there is one track to skip on this record, for me, it's this. It just feels a bit too transparently stadium-friendly to me; it may as well be called "Stadium Song", and I think, were Coldplay to have released this (minus the genius lyrics, obviously), they would have got away with it more. It's not a bad song - it's just more their field these days, I think. We have "With Love" and we have "Neat Little Rows" and we have "High Ideals" just on this album alone......perhaps even "The Birds" too, with its long-drawn-out crescendo. What all of these have that "Open Arms" doesn't, is a degree of sophistication with their subtle bombast, if such an oxymoron can possibly exist. A shame, as it's the only weak link, I think. And as weak links go, it's still fits into the "good" category. Just perhaps not quite splendid.

Hi, elbowismymuse! Very nice and well-thought out review there, thanks for posting! But...now I have to chime in about Open Arms. Wink I think it's a bit more than the song deserves to dismiss it as "microwave-meal" material. The immediacy of its appeal shouldn't necessarily be looked at as a negative thing. Elbow are a band with big hearts, and they have the capacity to translate that heart into songs with big, sing-along choruses. If that's all they ever did, I'd see your point. But on an album that also has such quiet loveliness as The River, such complexity as The Birds, and such raw energy as "Neat Little Rows", then I don't see Open Arms as a weak spot. I see it as admirable that Elbow can have all these sounds, and do so well with each of them. It adds to the album's diversity and it has some actual emotional resonance, so it isn't just by-the-numbers stadium fodder.

Also, as you may have already seen on another thread, the folks around here have debated over whether they like Radiohead or not. Those who love Radiohead stick up for the way they tackle new sonic territory without regard for commercial appeal, and those who dislike them say that the band are too clinical, and that there's no emotional connection to make with their songs. I think, with Elbow, you've got a nice blend of both musical integrity and real passion, which allows all different sorts of music-lovers to connect with them in different ways. That's why they are so beloved by those who have been following them all these years, and speaking for myself, I wouldn't want them to avoid those grand sing-alongs. It's part of the character of this band to be able to make those songs, and to move people with them, and I can't be upset with them for doing it any more than I could be upset with a dog for barking instead of meowing. Hope that all made sense! Very Happy But again, I enjoyed your review, and thanks for sharing it!
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elbowismymuse
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Mon 07 Mar 2011, 11:19

Alyn it is then! Very Happy

ChrissieinFL - thanks for your feedback there! I think in some ways you are bang on about the way I have approached the song and I do think I was a little premature with a song I wasn't sure about. I have given it several listens and I think my initial review appeared harsher than I intended it to....I did find the chorus a bit grating at first but I always stood by the rest of the song and I can safely say that it is growing on me. It's got Elbow loveliness and heart written all over it, and their heart is largely why I love them so much.

It didn't seem layered and textured enough for me at first, musically, but that opinion is changing... Ironically, sometimes it is the immediate songs that take a while to bed down with me as they are so numerous in the commercial music arena... It's easy to become cynical but it's also worth noting that a band such as elbow, producing a piece of work as gorgeous as their latest, tempered, interesting and full of multicoloured shades as ever, that they are not likely to be thinking in this way.

I think we all will have one or two songs we're not sure about to begin with. Open Arms was mine and as repeat listens have proven, it is better than I gave it credit for... It's all heart and it will win me over. Smile

Radiohead... I am a pre-Kid A fan. I'd be interested to know, knowing Garvey is a fan, what he thinks. His heart and the warmth of Elbow's music makes him an unlikely fan IMO. Having said this, there was a lot more feeling to Pablo and OK Computer than anything that followed IMO. They're too cold for me these days I have to say. The front cover of their new album alone frightens the life out of me! LOL!
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Mon 07 Mar 2011, 11:40

"That's not to say 'Build A Rocket Boys!' is flawless, but then that's part of its charm. If anything, 'satisfyingly weathered' may fit the bill best - its imperfections only serve to hold the interest further. Clearly capable of provoking goosebumps, watery eyes or more likely all of the above - if anything Elbow are more ponderous than before."
This Fake DIY, 9/10

"Whilst it is still ultimately an album that, above all, celebrates enduring friendships and successfully fought-for dreams, it is the intelligent, eloquent and heartfelt balance of light and shade, as ever with Elbow, that gives the music its strength."
Drowned in Sound, 8/10

"In their own, low key, understated way, Elbow continue to beguile and impress."
musicOMH, 4/5

"Beautifully produced and blessed with Guy Garvey in fine voice, it’s a small but perfectly formed step forward."
Clash Magazine, 8/10

"This is, in its own bruised way, a triumphant record."
Metro.co.uk, 4/5
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Tue 08 Mar 2011, 11:21

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elbowismymuse
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Tue 08 Mar 2011, 11:31

Could someone kindly post the review on that site here as my silly iPhone or rather O2 has gone all censor crazy on me and wants verification of my age to see the site. I would need to phone up with a credit card, pay a fee too, what rubbish! Is there a good reason why the site you've linked is over 18s only? A porn site with album review intermissions seems a little random and unlikely. Wink

Cheers!
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Tue 08 Mar 2011, 11:48

Here you go Smile

Craftily calling themselves ‘prog without the solos’ E.

Whereas the likes of Keane and Coldplay seemed to get bogged down in the Mcgee termed ‘bedwetting’ world leaving behind a soggy mattress of music Elbow wear their heart on their sleeves. And it works.

They also make a highly imaginative music that is moving, on the new album, into darker and deeper territory becoming, like Massive Attack, an unlikely inheritor of the mantle of post punk. They are true experimenters of sound, unlike the usual clutch of modern post punk bands whose music is considered groundbreaking when it is actually a copy of groundbreaking music decades ago and not that genuinely original.

Unlike Radiohead, whose latest album is yet another sonic adventure that you admire but feel emotionally detached from, Elbow make a music that resounds with the emotion stuff.

In their slow gestation over several albums and eighteen years of frustration some of which were as critically acclaimed underdogs Elbow have managed to remain part of the fabric of a northern city. Instead of playing around with their sound like other bands who spent years on the fringes like Biffy Clyro and Snow Patrol and looking for the commercial edge they stayed true to themselves. They became stadium massive on the breakthrough Seldom Seen Kid that saw them become the biggest band in the UK by following their own instincts.

Inserted of losing it the band went right back to their roots in Bury and north Manchester satellites- unfashionable towns that resonate with their own northern genius. and honed their sound down to its combination of stripped down sparse terrain and sweeping, melodramatic, orchestral swoops that are the perfect backdrop to Guy Garvey’s voice that conveys so much emotion and passion without ever cracking up.

The splendidly titled Build A Rocket Boys is a further refining of this and from the opening, The Birds, seems determined to set its stall. Written and recorded again in Blueprint studios in the backstreets five minutes from Manchester’s city centre it truly is the sound of a city centre in the rain with the weight of history and that peculiar sombre northern undertow of melancholia that has been handed down through the generations of northern bands since Joy Division.

Very much a band the Elbow team have been working towards this since they stumbled out of Bury in the early nineties with a hotch potch of influence from Nirvana to the surrounding baggy scene. They famously went down to Square One Studios in Bury in about 1991 to see if they could find the Stone Roses who were meant to be in there attempting to record the Second Coming.

Elbow never made the same mistakes as their forbearers and their work ethic is splendid. Instead of relaxing on the kudos of The Seldom Seen Kid they have moved on and taken their sound into darker and even more stripped down place that oozes with the sadness of lost youth and carworn memories.

It’s their musical scope and imagination that really scores, this is a quiet music with a loud human edge. Album opener. The Birds sets the stall with its hypnotic electronic backdrop and introspective vocal from Guy Garrvey who is in great voice on the album. Lippy Kids is a paean to lost youth and a gently powerful brooding song. With Love is driven by an almost blues gospel handclap with what sounds a Kora over the top giving the song an atmospheric- almost West African feel- like taking the blues right back to its roots and dredging them back up through the hi tech of 21st century crumbling UK. It also has one of those great subtle sing-along things they do so well- makes me think of that great night in Castlefield when the band played Manchester International festival and every drunk nutter in town was there with their booze in plastic bags singing along.

Neat Little Rows is a jerky, bass driven, hypnotic groove with an uplifting keyboard motif for the chorus that sits in the same sort of space as XTC’s multi rhythmic but very English, English Settlement as Garvey sings in a falsetto over the top his plaintive northern vowels to the fore. The genius titled Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl sounds like Ewan Macoll English folk- that super stripped down and personal- sat right in your ear music- a real achievement as it’s so hard to make music this quiet in these times where noise fills every crevice. The song is the perfect example of the band taking inspiration from their lost youth- a looking over your shoulder at lost innocence and having no fear of moving into middle age- something that pop is eternally terrified of. This brazen honesty gives the album its power.

The Night Will Always Win is almost hymn like with its stark backdrop that is like rain falling, High Ideals is another super stripped down backdrop- this time a shuffling, almost finger clicking beat and a lush piano motif, The River hints at Bowie’s Low with its emptiness and piano motif, Open Arms has that neo gospel chorus section that you can already hear played out over the sports on TV. The Birds (Reprise) is a curious almost growling thing that is like one of those wistful Tom Waits barroom ballads with John Mosley taking the vocals and the part of the wistful old man,. The album closer Dear Friends sounds like the big, emotional piece that the band do so well- quiet introspection turned into a lush melodic piece.

This is not an easy album, Elbow have gone darker and more personal and taken on the unlikely pop themes of old age and the frailty of life in a downbeat setting resisting the challenge for clap happy anthems. They are writing for themselves and not the stadiums and ultimately that will their lasting reward as they have created another album to be treasured.
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elbowismymuse
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Tue 08 Mar 2011, 11:59

Thanks! Very Happy

Excellent review, although I don't see the album as a dark affair at all. Sad, tearjerking, longing and nostalgic, sure. It's quite upbeat for elbow in places though.
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ChrissieInFL
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Thu 10 Mar 2011, 15:55

There's a lot of good discussion of the new material, and I'm enjoying reading it all! I've been spending a lot of time with BARB this week, and will probably chime in with some thoughts after I've listened to it a bit longer. It's absolutely wonderful as an album, but I'm still getting the feel of all the songs as individual pieces. Just so good to hear the Elboys again, and to see that they've still got it! cheers
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Fri 18 Mar 2011, 21:33

Lovely review here from The Telegraph. Love the way they pick up on the longing brass as the album closes as I found it similarly noteworthy. Smile


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/cdreviews/8364131/Elbow-Build-a-Rocket-Boys-CD-review.html
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Fri 18 Mar 2011, 21:42

And a perhaps even lovelier review from crackintheroad.com

http://www.crackintheroad.com/music/5272-review-elbow-build-a-rocket-boys
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Fri 18 Mar 2011, 22:58

elbowismymuse wrote:
Lovely review here from The Telegraph. Love the way they pick up on the longing brass as the album closes as I found it similarly noteworthy. Smile


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/cdreviews/8364131/Elbow-Build-a-Rocket-Boys-CD-review.html

What a brilliant review! I love the comparisons to Lowry's art and definitely agree about the lingering trumpets at the end of Dear Friends - such a perfect ending.
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Wed 23 Mar 2011, 15:58

Now the dust has settled, it seems that BARB has been well received across the board.

I find 'Any Decent Music' and 'Metacritic' useful as they pull in reviews from different sources and give an average, plus it provides a handy link to those reviews (apologies if i'm preaching to the choir!)

8/10 seems to be the popular score, which is mighty fine.

http://www.anydecentmusic.com/review/2716/Elbow-Build-A-Rocket-Boys.aspx
http://www.metacritic.com/music/build-a-rocket-boys!/critic-reviews
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PostSubject: Re: build a rocket boys! reviews   Tue 19 Apr 2011, 18:11

Ah, forgive me if I repost myself, as I didn't realize that there was an actual review thread for BARB.

I just thought I'd share my thoughts on the new album, Build A Rocket Boys.

Track by track review:

1. The Birds: Easily one of the best songs out of their entire catalog. A slow burner that builds to a glorious end. 5 Starlings

2. Lippy Kids: Slowing down already? Well, that's okay, everyone is allowed to do that from time to time. I really like this one. 5 Starlings

3. With Love: Oh no. No. No. No. What happened? I'm all for positivity, but this is a bit overblown. You've gone Coldplay on us. Easily the weakest thing on here. 2 Starlings

4. Neat Little Rows: Okay, now we're back on track! A fantastic romp throughout. Another to put amongst their finest. Let's get ready to rock out! 5 Starlings

5. Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl: Um, yeah...what I was saying about rocking out. Not happening, apparently. I understand that this is supposed to be an introspective musing on Garvey's past, but this is quite boring, actually. I mean, It sounds all very nice and it has a warm...fuzzy feeling to it, but oh....getting sleepy....zzzz. 2 Starlings

6. The Night Will Always Win: Huh? I don't remember this one. Upon the first listening of the record I must have slept through it. This one is actually very good. This one has that warm and fuzzy thing I spoke about previously, but without being overblown (With Love) or pretentious (Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl). 4 Starlings

7. High Ideals: Ooh, a pulsing beat and a guitar announcement followed by some nice orchestration. This is the one that woke me up from my little nap the first time around. The band drops out around three minutes in, leaving only a door shaking low ebb underneath Garvey's vocal. It's a pretty nice touch. Unfortunately, this song never seems to build any steam when it kicks back in, and just kind of peters out instead of soaring. 3 Starlings

8. The River: Uh oh, starting to doze off again...it's a good thing Garvey started singing when he did. Not a bad tune, but not super memorable either. 3 Starlings

9. Open Arms: Dammit. They're doing that Coldplay thing again. Slightly less overblown though, and I must admit that the choir sounds superb. However, it also sounds safe. 3 Starlings

10. The Birds (Reprise): Who's this? Did Garvey just age 40 years? No, he didn't (this track is sung by John Moseley, a 68 year old piano tuner), but this fellow is what I can imagine he would sound like if he did. With all of the observations of youth and aging, it's a nice thematic callback to the first song and it's really how the record should have ended. 5 Starlings

11. Dear Friends: I...I really wanted to like this one, but it just feels too much like a retread of "Scattered Black & Whites" or "Newborn" from their first album, 2001's "Asleep In The Back" but without the dazzling intensity of either one. This would have fared better as a B-Side in my opinion. With that said, I really do get a genuine feeling of sincerity and warmth from the whole group on this one, which is really what saves it. 3 Starlings

Yeah, Elbow is definitely comfortable in their own skin. And this record definitely has a very warm and fuzzy feeling to it, like your favorite old blanket. And like that blanket, you feel like you've seen this before. I was really excited for this record and I was hoping for a more transcendent experience. Unfortunately, it seems that they've decided to relax and play it safe on this one. A bit too much, in my opinion. A little more intensity - there's a glimmer of it on "The Birds" and "Neat Little Rows" - would have helped. To be fair though, after all of the accolades that they (rightfully) received for "The Seldom Seen Kid", I suppose they deserve kick back a little. So yes, while a bit disappointing, I look forward to the next one.

Overall Rating: 3.64 Starlings out of 5
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