Elbow: Lippy Kids (Live at Blueprint Studios)

As promised, Elbow followed through on its “special surprise” for Boxing Day, releasing a live video of Lippy Kids, the first taste of the forthcoming album, build a rocket boys!, due for a March 7 release in the UK.

Singer Guy Garvey said his writing was inspired by his return to an area where he lived in his teenage years, and the drum-less Lippy Kids – which strolls along beautifully on a foundation of understated piano work – captures that nostalgic spirit: “Do they know those days are golden?

The song also birthed the album’s title, which apparently has caused some punctuation angst, at least for the band’s keyboard player/producer, Craig Potter, who has taken to Twitter a bit to discuss the missing comma that has, um, given pause to some fans (including myself). My day job as a copy editor compels me to point this out, though it hardly will detract from my enjoyment of the album, I’m sure.

Assuming the title is a command to the boys (and the exclamation point indicates it probably is), the title should read: “build a rocket, boys!” (Let’s not even begin with the all-lowercase issue.) The AP Stylebook notes the following examples for using a comma “in direct address”: “Mother, I will be home late” and “No, sir, I did not take it.” I suppose it’s possible the title describes the boys, but then Elbow would be missing hyphens to indicate a compound modifier: You don’t wanna mess around with those build-a-rocket boys! Potter’s assessment?: “Punctuation Smunctuation. What’s wrong with it? Well, there could, be, a comma, in there, but, it depends, on, how you, say it.”

We can probably all agree that Garvey’s voice here soars above these petty concerns, eh?

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