Be warned, homesick British expats: Elbow’s Build a Rocket Boys! will have you weeping into your pillow. The latest offering from the scruffy northern blighters who grew up and got happy, this is an album bursting with misty-eyed nostalgia. If its final line ‘Old friends… you are the stars I navigate home by’ doesn’t get you on Skype quick smart to speak to the mates you left behind, nothing will.
Back in the days when they were penniless and unsigned, they worked and caused havoc in the music venues of Manchester. When they weren’t pulling pints, eyeing up pretty punters or teaching people how to fake break dance, they were feverishly rehearsing or scribbling lyrics into notebooks, slogging away in the hope that one day they would make it big.
And they did. It may have taken an age for the rest of the world to fall in love with these boys from Bury but now the band play to packed out stadiums, win awards and never seem to be off the television and radio.
All those years spent honing their craft has paid off, in spades. Now, their melodies are more complex, their harmonies richer and their lyrics even more poetic than before. And in a year which has seen them conquer Glastonbury, release their critically-acclaimed fifth album and gain yet another nomination for the Mercury Music Prize, for us at least, they’ve saved the best till last: this month they play Barcelona for the first time.
Thanks to Primavera Sound and San Miguel the boys play Casino de l’Aliança—a shabby yet chic old theatre in Poblenou—the perfect venue for Elbow. Roomy enough to house their string quartet but intimate enough to allow Guy Garvey’s voice to embrace you like a warm hug.
It’s been years since the band have been able to play a room this small in the UK, tickets are a steal at just €20 (€23 on the door) and they’re supported by Howling Bells. All in all this promises to be a very special night indeed.
So join the angels and the drunks down the front if you can and welcome them to Barcelona with open arms.