One of the very few bands with not one but two members named Rod, Idlewild have come a long way since their punk rock beginnings. The Scottish band are very adept and marrying their highlands heritage with a kind of widescreen poetic rock music that has garnered lots of comparisons to R.E.M. Here they are with their first since 2015's Everything Ever Written and shows them still as inspired as ever.
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Our former scribe Robin may disagree but I'm finding it hard to work out what the point is of an Idlewild revival. But there again what is the point in anything? Opener Dream Variations literally does nothing in its first half to make me even realise the record is on but at the half way mark it seems to even get bored with itself and launches into a slow paced break down complete with hollering gospel vocals that is actually quite interesting and enjoyable. Now, in the 90s one of the signs that a band was doing pretty well was the introduction of gospel singing or layered female backing vocals. And despite being in a post Kill Your Friends music industry Interview Music is slathered with them.
There's A Place For Everything is a highly polished thing aiming head first towards what may have seemed a hit in 1994. It includes an unusual line about "a full automatic washing machine" but this would do ok on dual CD single format. I normally find Roddy Woomble's voice quite agreeable but here it's treated with something - not autotune but something that kind of synthesizes it...and it's way above the mix. He says utterly nothing of interest throughout but particularly on the title track which plods along like a Modest Mouse B side and contains a quite odd, discordant breakdown.
It's hard to find many sparks of their old REM - ish rock melancholy. Interview Music is the sound of a band with nothing to say, no songs to speak of but..well why not? What else is there to do?
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