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Elbow

Build a Rocket Boys! (Fiction)

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Sept. 16, 2011

ACL Music Fest Sunday Reviews

Elbow

Build a Rocket Boys! (Fiction)

Lush, ascendant, electronically detailed eight-minute opener "The Birds" sets the stage for this English quintet's fifth LP and first since 2008's Mercury Prize-winning The Seldom Seen Kid. Contemporarily, think Radiohead. In archaic terms, recall early ancestors Genesis, only without all the progressive clutter. The first time Guy Garvey says the album's title in "Lippy Kids," it's soft suggestion. When he repeats the phrase straightaway, his tenor climbing toward falsetto, it's a sad command in Peter Gabriel's haunted translucence. Mandolin strum "With Love," with the Hallé Youth Choir, evokes another UK prog act – Marillion and its frontman Fish. That's Elbow: evolutionary pastoralism. "Lay my bones in the cobblestones," cries Garvey on "Neat Little Rows," again in his best Peter Gabriel. "Lay my bones in neat little rows." There are too many golden slumbers ("The Night Will Always Win"), and since the snapping and grandiose arrangement of "High Ideals" passes for the pulse quickener on Rocket, tempo could vary more, as it does in the banging build of "Open Arms," another British best in any decade. (5:30pm, Google+ stage)

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