Guy Garvey on ‘build a rocket boys!’
26th January 2011
‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ for us will forever be a reminder of everything that happened during the four and a half years we were writing and then touring the record from the very sad to the utterly exhilarating. The pressures of following such a hugely successful record were nothing compared to the making of the previous albums. If anything it just gave us confidence. We had a conversation right at the top of making ‘build’ and we agreed that as always we were just going to get stuck in. We tried to ignore the excitement of the big stages we knew we were now going to play and concentrated as always on making a record that would leave the listener somewhere other than it found them. We are still an album band before anything else and the phrase whenever we got stuck was simple, ‘what do we want to hear next?’
The first song we completed was written and recorded on the Isle Of Mull. ‘Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl’ couldn’t be simpler musically and lyrically. It’s a list of the details I remember from my life when I was 22 written with the knowledge of how things would unfold.
“Nothing to be proud of and nothing to regret, all of that to make as yet.”
The music sounded to me like the muted heartbeat of someone restraining themselves, the splashes of clumsy colour from the keyboards being general excitement bubbling up over the sides.
At 22 I had been in the band for five years and we knew what we wanted to do. Life was general excitement, it was easy to remember. ‘Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl’ became the blueprint for the record. Musically and thematically there isn’t a spare signal on this record. Craig as a producer insists on performance, there’s no “let’s fix it in the mix” and in our writing there isn’t a note spare.
Lyrically this is a record about the ups and downs of being young through the eyes of someone who loved and hated it all at the same time. Ultimately though, when elbow listen back to this record in years to come it will remind us of how it felt to be the same old friends in the same wonderful studio in the same old town making another record we’re immensely proud of but this time in the warm glow of having realised all the plans we made as boys. The album title recommends that everybody have a go.