#5 on the 2011 Musical Bacon Calendar
Build A Rocket Boys! by Elbow
I’m starting to see a pattern here. With the King of Limbs at #7, Bon Iver at #6, and now Elbow at #5, my affinity for rich orchestration and heavy layering is readily apparent. Maybe even a tad predictable. Thankfully, numbers four through one don’t fall in this same category, so predictions can remain off target.
Elbow is an English band, and unbeknownst to most Americans, they’ve been making music together for over twenty years, and releasing albums for the last ten. I was a rather late comer to Elbow, not discovering their majesty until the Seldom Seen Kid a year after its 2008 release. At the insistence of that album’s greatness, I quickly fell in love with everything Elbow, and patiently awaited their fifth studio album, Build a Rocket Boys!, which came out in March.
Elbow are quite approachable. I’d venture to say of all the albums in my Top 10 this year, this album is the one that I could easily recommend to almost anyone. You may not have heard of Elbow, but you probably know of their sound, as there’s a near one-to-one correlation between the band and Peter Gabriel’s later works (everything from So forward). You’ll hear Elbow and think to yourself “Did Peter Gabriel come out with a new album?” (which he actually did, back in October, but I sadly have not heard it.)
The video above, for the song “Lippy Kids,” is a bit on the slow side, but don’t let that affect your opinion of the album on the whole. Elbow have truly mastered range and crescendo, gracefully tiptoeing through the quietest low and charging across the excitable highs. Their albums embody a beauty that few others have managed (Jeff Buckley comes to mind). And Build a Rocket Boys! is no different.
Added bonus: my three-year-old loves “Lippy Kids” simply because they mention rockets. Something tells me he’s not alone in that — try it out with your own children.
6. Bon Iver by Bon Iver
7. The King of Limbs by Radiohead
8. Bad As Me by Tom Waits
9. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
10. The Youth Die Young by Mad Rad
11. Last Night On Earth by Noah and the Whale
12. Codes and Keys by Death Cab For Cutie
13. Valley of the Headless Men by Ravenna Woods
14. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys
15. James Blake by James Blake
16. Hysterical by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
17. An Argument with Myself by Jens Lekman
18. The Whole Love by Wilco
19. My Goodness by My Goodness
20. My Head is an Animal by Of Monsters and Men
21. Gloss Drop by Battles
22. Showroom of Compassion by CAKE
23. A New Kind of House EP by Typhoon
24. EP by Grouplove
25. Fan Chosen Covers (Best of) by Eef Barzelay
26. TKOL RMX 1234567 by Radiohead
27. Organ Music Not Virbraphone Like I’d Hoped by Moonface
28. Heavy Boots & Underwoods by Ben Fisher
29. The Rip Tide by Beirut
30. Collapse Into Now by R.E.M.
31. I Am Very Far by Okkervil River