Elbow have announced details of their "encouraging" new album, inspired by bittersweet memories of Guy Garvey's adolescence.
Garvey accidentally revealed the LP's title in an interview with Marc Riley on Tuesday night. "I'm in terrible trouble," Garvey told BBC 6 Music. "I got drunk and announced on-air the title ... under the influence of old mild Guinness."
Elbow's fifth album will be called build a rocket boys! – "lowercase, with an exclamation mark," Garvey said. "Very important, that." Although it still opens with the song Lippy Kids – proposed earlier as an album title – Elbow wanted a name that was "positive and encouraging", "[summing] up most of the themes of the record".
The band's rocket-building music draws on Garvey's recollections of being 14 or 15 years old, walking the same streets he does now. "I've moved back to an old neighbourhood, where I spent my early to late teens," he said. "I've been remembering that period of my life in great detail ... [and] that's what the album is about ... the years I spent here growing up, the difficulties and the great things about it too."
The album looks beyond these problems, especially on a song called The Birds, in which Garvey explores "the last encounter of a failed love affair, from the point of view of an 85-year-old man". To sing the reprise, Elbow hired an amateur, a piano tuner called John Mosley. "We wanted a man with a sweet but frail voice, and John got the job."
The Halle Youth Choir appear on the record and, as on the Mercury prize-winning Seldom Seen Kid, the cover art is by Oliver East. "[It's] a very simple painting of a figure stretching his arms to the heavens in excitement," Garvey said. Although the band have yet to release any samples of what they've been working on, the frontman promised a "surprise" will appear on Elbow's website on 26 December.
build a rocket boys! will be released on 7 March, with an arena tour to follow.
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