Injecting a wider range of emotions into their music than most of their guitar-based British peers, Elbow have been known to refer to their orchestral, grandiose sound as "prog without the solos." The members of the band -- vocalist Guy Garvey, drummer Richard Jupp, organist Craig Potter, guitarist Mark Potter, and bassist Pete Turner -- met during the early '90s while attending college in Bury. After moving several miles south to Manchester proper, the band went through a couple of developmental stages before attracting the interest of Island Records, who signed the group in 1998.
Island was bought out by Universal several months later, though, and Elbow found themselves dropped from the label as a result. After a partnership with EMI also dissolved, the guys linked up with local independent label Uglyman and released two EPs, Newborn and Any Day Now. The acclaimed EPs gained the band a contract with V2, which released 2001's equally tipped Asleep in the Back. The record was short-listed as a nominee for 2001's Mercury Prize and was issued in the States in early 2002.
Cast of Thousands, which appeared in 2004, proved to be a strong, critically acclaimed follow-up. Leaders of the Free World, inspired by political events and behavior in the media, was released in fall 2005, with The Seldom Seen Kid following in 2008. Although all three of Elbow's past albums had enjoyed significant popularity in the U.K., The Seldom Seen Kid was the band's first album to go multi-platinum, eventually selling over one million copies and winning the 2008 Mercury Prize. Writing sessions for a new album began in 2010, and Build a Rocket Boys! was released one year later.