Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 26
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 26
  3. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Mar 10, 2011
    Their last album, The Seldom Seen Kid, managed the rare feat of winning the Mercury prize and huge public affection. So how do Elbow follow it? With continued greatness and without fuss.
  2. 88
    This fifth studio album is a humbly gorgeous collection, propelling an already dynamic band into even more dramatic, heart-wrenching territory.
  3. Apr 12, 2011
    It isn't the type of album that will easily find its way into the hearts of those in need of a quicker, simpler fix.
  4. Apr 14, 2011
    As with earlier records, Build A Rocket Boys! is touched by ambitious, intuitive invention. [Apr. 2011, p. 92]
  5. Apr 12, 2011
    The emotional pallet may be lightened, but once again Elbow still manages to break hearts, even as their own remain intact.
  6. Apr 11, 2011
    Build a Rocket Boys! knows when to push forward and when to pull back, and its songs find the accessibility in out-of-the-box thinking without alienating either side of Elbow's audience.
  7. Mar 29, 2011
    In short, it's a quietly beautiful record: anthemic but not bombastic, introspective yet universal, simply drawn but beautifully coloured in. [Apr 2011, p.82]
  8. Mar 22, 2011
    Details make Build a Rocket Boys! warrant repeat listenings, requiring that you pay attention and remember what you experience.
  9. 80
    Whereas previous Elbow records set a mood, Build A Rocket Boys! may require a certain mood, and a few spins, before the lofty expectations are shed and you're left delighting in its radiance.
  10. Mar 14, 2011
    This is not the work of a band prepared to make a song and dance to keep everyone interested, but one happy to build something good from not a lot and hope you like it.
  11. 80
    The air of exultant expectation recollected in tranquility pervades the entire album, with Garvey confiding memories and misgivings to the natural world in "The River" and "The Birds", the latter appointed "the keepers of our secrets", while the former ultimately washes them out to the west-facing sea.
  12. 80
    Specifically speaking, Elbow have retained their crowns as everyman kings.
  13. Mar 11, 2011
    Beautifully produced and blessed with Guy Garvey in fine voice, it's a small but perfectly formed step forward.
  14. Mar 11, 2011
    Since The Seldom Seen Kid's release it seems everyone and everyone's mum are now fans of the band. Though Build A Rocket Boys! is a strong album, it never quite matches the rampant grace of that record and in many ways caters to their more tested demographic.
  15. Mar 10, 2011
    In their own, low key, understated way, Elbow continue to beguile and impress.
  16. Mar 9, 2011
    It's simply another excellent Elbow record. [March 2011, p. 98]
  17. Commendably, the Bury band's fifth album doesn't see them chasing the mainstream or pandering to the ear of the daytime radio dilettante.
  18. Mar 8, 2011
    Expansive yet intimate, ornate yet seductive, this is capital-A Art rock without pretense, but with tremendous heart.
  19. Mar 8, 2011
    Too old to have their heads turned by mainstream success, but too big-hearted, maybe too grateful, to spurn it with a churlish how-do-you-like-us-now gesture, Build a Rocket Boys! sees Elbow doing perhaps the smartest thing you could under the circumstances: carrying on regardless.
  20. Mar 8, 2011
    They continue to make music that sounds like it cares how you are.
  21. Mar 8, 2011
    In an industry that so often seems dizzily preoccupied with a desire for the shock of the new, real or wilfully imagined, we should be grateful that a bunch of steady-goers like Elbow have continued to perfect their craft and simultaneously achieve such acclaim and recognition.
  22. Apr 11, 2011
    This is an artfully conceived and executed, heartfelt and evocative work, and I suspect it's precisely the kind of album Garvey and his mates wanted to make, and in the U.K. - where it was released in early March - the reviews have been uniformly rhapsodic.
  23. Mar 16, 2011
    Build a Rocket Boys! sounds very much like an Elbow record, but it doesn't sound like any Elbow record we've heard before.
  24. 70
    The band didn't set out to create a hit-laden album that repeats the successes of their past. Instead, they've crafted an album full of beautifully lush melodies, intricate patterns, and soaring vocalizations.
  25. Mar 18, 2011
    It's no slight to say the record's distinguishing quality is the one Elbow has had since the beginning, an honest humanity that's imperfect but can be appreciated if you live with it.
  26. Sep 13, 2011
    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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Negative: 2 out of 13
  1. Apr 12, 2011
    An album filled with great rhythms, lyrics, and so much more. I think I could write an essay containing 500-800 words but that would be boring to read since this is no place to do that (I'l just live it for the Final Exam). The first time I listened to "Elbow" was before a year and i was listening to "Seldom Seen Kid" and was amazed. Fortunately they did it again and this time it is a bit "messier" but still a great album no doubt about it. I think that Elbow is a raising band and in a decade they'll be a big and successful band (if they keep it going). Furthermore, if you ever listened to Radiohead, Arcade Fire, The National, etc. and liked it than you'll like this album too. If you're having doubts on buying this album, doubt no more and go to any music shop and buy it.... You won't regret it. Full Review »
  2. Mar 14, 2011
    Am I alone in believing that the mainly wonderful Elbow are actually following a gently descending trajectory with each successive album?

    the people with score this a 9 or a 10 i pose the question of how you rate "Asleep in the back", or "Cast of thousands". I can only assume that, a la Spinal Tap, your gauge goes up to 11 or 12.......

    The interesting and original instrumentation, and Guy Garvey's lyricism, are not bad exactly, but - not as inspired as early Elbow - it's all faintly, dare i say it - bland??

    Yet, with the success of TSSK, all the reviewers seem to feel they have to describe this blandness as subtlety. Surely only evidence of "Johnny-come-latelys" who have never actually explored the back catalogue, or herding instinct........ Not a bad album, B+ , can do better.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 30, 2011
    I suppose I believe that the only reason the few naysayers are disenchanted with this outing is that Elbow has become expert. These tracks are so well crafted, so purposefully moving... So effortless is Build A Rocket Boys! that it seems as though they dreamed it up in its perfect state. The dissenters just miss the elbow grease. Full Review »