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Album Reviews Q&A: Elbow

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Mike Diver Mike Diver | 15:04 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

Elbow press shot 2011

Artist: Elbow
Album: Build a Rocket Boys!
Recommended by: 6 Music Album of the Day, Radcliffe & Maconie, Victoria Derbyshire

Currently busy touring their fifth album Build a Rocket Boys!, the follow-up to their Mercury Prize-winning LP The Seldom Seen Kid, Elbow are a hard band to pin down for a brief Q&A. But pin them down we did, just about - Craig Potter (keys) and Pete Turner (bass) supply the answers...

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Album five, and the band is nearing the 15th anniversary of its first release: some significant markers, there. Around the turn of the millennium, with the first release of Newborn, surely you couldn't have envisaged this level of success?
I don't think you'd do this if you didn't think there was some chance you'd get there. We certainly didn't start this band with the idea of not making it.

Looking at the way you've grown in profile steadily, do you have any sympathy for bands thrown in at the deep end with super-hyped debut albums?
As long as you can maintain the success when you get it, the overnight thing is just as valid as building up to it. If you can't maintain it though, what's the point? It's a shame to be here today and gone tomorrow...

Have Elbow ever considered "doing a Kid A", and presenting a wholly new direction? There must be plenty of ideas circulating between members, but which probably wouldn't fit in with the tone of a long-player...
The Elbow album of ragga covers is right around the corner.

That said, there is variety apparent on Build a Rocket Boys! - Jesus is a Rochdale Girl maybe doesn't conform to what might be perceived as a 'typical' Elbow sound.
As long as the five of us are writing it, the end product will sound like an Elbow record. If we did a metal album, it would sound like an Elbow metal album.

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Elbow - Lippy Kids (Live at Blueprint Studios)

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Did you find yourselves able to write as you had done previously this time around, what with the commercial success of album four? Or were there any blocks in the creative process?
No. We were very relaxed. We've all been constantly writing anyway, so there was no exact starting point. The albums are just chapters in an ongoing process.

Critical reaction to Build a Rocket Boys! has been very positive - but do you pay much mind to reviews these days?
Less so nowadays. We've been lucky. We've never really had a slating, but the negative comments do stay with you.

Finally, I always end with asking what someone's favourite albums of the year so far have been...
We've really liked Beach House's Teen Dream (it came out last year! - MD), Alela Diane's ...& Wild Divine, and the James Blake album.

Read the BBC review of Build a Rocket Boys!
Visit Elbow on MySpace (external link)
Read more Album Reviews Q&As on the BBC Music Blog

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