Elbow 'rocket' is poetry in motion

Phila Siu
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One word sums up Elbow's fifth album, Build a Rocket Boys! - "poetry".

The collection follows the format Elbow does best - a mix of dreamy guitar and piano-led melodies, bluesy guitar riffs and poetic lyrics. The band claim that lyrically the songs recount the ups and downs - mostly downs - of being young, seen through the eyes of someone who loved and hated the experience at the time.

The minimalist track Jesus Is a Rochdale Girl is based on singer Guy Garvey's poem in which he recalls his first love - a girl he knew before they found success.

Some critics may claim there is little difference between these tracks and those on the previous four albums. But people still love them - because they are good.

Garvey's distinctive vocals are often mournful and imbue the album with a sense of heartfelt sorrow that helps the tracks resonate with listeners.

One of the stand-out tracks is the downbeat opener The Birds, in which Garvey sings: "Though I wore your glacial patience/ To a smudge of bitter dust/ On the last day you embraced me/ With a glistening sapling trust."

In an interesting reprise, The Birds is sung by John Moseley, an elderly piano tuner, rather than Garvey, in a nod to the idea of mortality.

Elbow's album is one rocket ride that will not disappoint.

YP rating: 3/5