Quick Review (LP): Build A Rocket Boys! by Elbow

Elbow
Build A Rocket Boys!
Fiction; 2011

My Rating: A- (81/100)

Best Tracks: "The Birds", "Lippy Kids", "Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl", "Neat Little Rows", "Open Arms", "Dear Friends"

A big HUG of a record.

NOTES
– Elbow are a Brit-rock band that I meant to get into a few years back, after hearing "Forget Myself", a fantastic single. Alas, distractions…
– Great vocals – sounds like Peter Gabriel fronting U2. Similarities to Doves as well.
– "Lippy Kids" is gorgeous.
– "Love will find you out." Nice.
– Surprisingly big when it’s really quiet and intimate. See "The Night Will Always Win." Just Guy and an omnichord at first.
– The nostalgic twinges really define this record. It’s like a big goodbye to childhood. At the same time, it’s a strong affirmation of youth.
– I really like this record (and this band), but as a whole it doesn’t quite knock it out of the park like I was hoping it would. There are several fantastic tracks, and the production is gorgeous, but there isn’t that defining moment that one would hope for from a band of this caliber. Still, I’m sure I’ll be playing this regularly throughout 2011.
Ian Cohen of Pitchfork: "[W]hile Garvey is a phenomenal vocalist and wordsmith, the dots don’t always connect to form memorable songs. That’s particularly glaring during Build a Rocket‘s pokey midsection, which abates melodically and hangs on to Garvey’s redolent lyrics for dear life." Word.

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (4.5/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (4.5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Songs (4.5/5)

Worth Shouting About: Givers

I’m certainly not the first one to recognize something noteworthy about Givers of Lafayette, Louisiana. Paste, Spinner, and others beat me to the punch. However, they certainly get a “highly anticipated” vote from me based on what I’ve heard so far. Seeming to combine influences ranging from Flaming Lips to Peter Gabriel to Talking Heads to Vampire Weekend, I’m thinking these guys will be playing SNL sometime around summer 2011. It may be effervescent, but I’ve got a gut feeling that the bubbles are only the run-off from a hyper-creative hot spring residing in this collective. For now, go ahead and enjoy yourself some free mp3s via Daytrotter (below) and get to know this band before everyone else does.

get the Daytrotter session

get their debut EP

The Fire Theft: The Fire Theft (2003)

The Fire Theft
The Fire Theft; 2003
Rykodisc
My Rating: 83/100
You can’t really blame the Sunny Day Part Deux trio of Enigk/Hoerner/Goldsmith for splitting after THE RISING TIDE. While that album had a few brilliant moments, overall it was a mess of genre-synthesis gone bad. Kudos for trying, but the band just couldn’t find a happy medium between their emo roots and their prog leanings. The great news is that the Sunny Day Part Tre trio of Enigk/Mendel/Goldsmith (aka The Fire Theft) found an excellent way ahead on their 2003 debut, abandoning emo all together and creating a sublime piece of prog majesty. Once heard in the right context (“Chain”, “Heaven”), Enigk’s voice is a no-brainer for prog, nuzzling itself into the happy medium between Peter Gabriel and Geddy Lee. The abandonment of punk tempos hasn’t left the music boring either, as the band’s instrumental chops are still firmly intact. But it’s the songs that really stand out for The Fire Theft. From the aggressive and soaring “Chain” to the gorgeous, piano-based “Summertime,” it’s exceptionally rewarding to see a group of musicians with so much water under the bridge find so many new ways forward. Sunny Day Real Estate reunions aside, I find myself in the small camp of those thirsting for a follow-up from The Fire Theft.
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4.5/5)
Consistency (4.5/5)
Tracks:
1. Uncle Mountain (3.5/5)
2. Waste Time Segue
3. Oceans Apart (4/5)
4. Chain (5/5)
5. Backward Blues
6. Summertime (5/5)
7. Houses (5/5)
8. Waste Time (5/5)
9. Heaven (5/5)
10. Rubber Bands (4/5)
11. It’s Over (5/5)
12. Carry You (5/5)
13. Sinatra (4/5)

FiretheftThe Fire Theft
The Fire Theft; 2003
Rykodisc

My Rating: 83/100

You can’t really blame the Sunny Day Part Deux trio of Enigk/Hoerner/Goldsmith for splitting after THE RISING TIDE. While that album had a few brilliant moments, overall it was a mess of genre-synthesis gone bad. Kudos for trying, but the band just couldn’t find a happy medium between their emo roots and their prog leanings. The great news is that the Sunny Day Part Tre trio of Enigk/Mendel/Goldsmith (aka The Fire Theft) found an excellent way ahead on their 2003 debut, abandoning emo all together and creating a sublime piece of prog majesty. Once heard in the right context (“Chain”, “Heaven”), Enigk’s voice is a no-brainer for prog, nuzzling itself into the happy medium between Peter Gabriel and Geddy Lee. The abandonment of punk tempos hasn’t left the music boring either, as the band’s instrumental chops are still firmly intact. But it’s the songs that really stand out for The Fire Theft. From the aggressive and soaring “Chain” to the gorgeous, piano-based “Summertime,” it’s exceptionally rewarding to see a group of musicians with so much water under the bridge find so many new ways forward. Sunny Day Real Estate reunions aside, I find myself in the small camp of those thirsting for a follow-up from The Fire Theft.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4.5/5)
Consistency (4.5/5)

Tracks:

1. Uncle Mountain (3.5/5)
2. Waste Time Segue
3. Oceans Apart (4/5)
4. Chain (5/5)
5. Backward Blues
6. Summertime (5/5)
7. Houses (5/5)
8. Waste Time (5/5)
9. Heaven (5/5)
10. Rubber Bands (4/5)
11. It’s Over (5/5)
12. Carry You (5/5)
13. Sinatra (4/5)