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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Spanish Archer - Build A Rocket Boys!

When Elbow broke through with the multiple award winning “The Seldom Seen Kid” quite a few people who were previously unaware of them swooned in admiration at the scope of what they had created.
Here was a band with a cinematic quality who were the antithesis of what the mainstream was providing at the time and people seemed to be getting it even if they were falling short of articulating why.
Maybe part of it was the refreshingly laissez-faire attitude that I felt imbued the album. It sounded like they had made it for themselves and if you got on board with it then that was great, but if not then no worries.
It just seemed not to crave your attention and for me that gave it an attractive sense of its own worth.
There's little doubt that with the Mercury Music award the dominoes all started to fall one after another and the band made a huge leap forward in the popularity stakes, but that sort of patronage can be a tad misleading.
Award winning albums by being award winning attract big sales, but whether they are bought through genuine appreciation or simply as the must have album of the year that will remain in its shrink wrapped jacket is anyone's guess.
The proof of whether the band have really made an impact is when they follow that album.
Will they be the forgotten lads of yesteryear? Will they have their heads turned by the adulation and try to release a carbon copy of the album that brought them fame and fortune? Will they keep it together and maintain their own musical persona and win hearts and minds all over again.
Thankfully with “Build A Rocket Boys!” it would appear to be the latter.
Impressively unencumbered with the weight of “The Seldom Seen Kid” Elbow have simply rolled up their sleeves, tucked their heads down and done exactly what they wanted to do oblivious of the expectations that could have hampered their progress.
It would seem very likely that the creation of what they do is everything and once again they aren't chasing anyone to “get it”. It just is. It's out there and you can take it or leave it.
There's a sense of sparseness on it that's deluding. Even when there's a lot going on sonically it feels like there's ample room for everything, room to breathe, room to stretch.
Guy Garvey sounds like he is intimately sharing experiences with us all and there's a depth of warm honesty that permeates the album while his vocals weave in and out of the music.
I'm not sure how this would translate over to the size of venues that their success has led them to play, but if anyone can do it then it is very possibly this band.
Intimacy for the masses could be the new stadium rock.


  1. Just acquired the album and, apart from being somewhat of a fan, Im still listening and not entirely sure waht to think or how to jugde - if at all. Most of the time I like what i hear from Elbow, and this time is no different. But I will have to hear it al couple more times to really know what's what. That's a good thing btw.

  2. I was quietly impressed on first listen, but increasingly more so each time after.
    I'm still not sure how it would transfer across into a stadium sized venue though.
    It just seems too intimate for that.
    With headphones on it sounds very personal.