Idlewild - Post Electric Blues
Having listened to Idlewild for the best part of a decade now, I can say no matter what direction they have taken, I have always found each album immediately catchy, melodic and suprisingly beautiful in some places. Perhaps it is the Scottish feel they attach to each and every song they produce, adding a certain viewpoint to songs that many bands do not have.
Incidentally, for the first time since their inception Idlewild find themselves without a record label, instead chosing to sell their music directly to the fans. The album will, however, see a general release at some point.
The band have also been delving into their entire back catalogue, recently playing five nights at Glasgow's famous King Tuts Wah Wah Hut in December and running through an album per night, plus b-sides. Was this the band trying to gain perspective from what they have written and evolved from in the past? From the noisy, distorted, frantic debut 'Hope Is Important' through to the commercially successful 'The Remote Part' and the ever fan-dividing 'Warnings/Promises' they have been one of the nation's most consistent and invigorating acts.
On 'Post Electric Blues' the band seemed to enjoy being free from the pressures of having a record label. Here is a band which has written one of its strongest albums to date, with not a single weak track. Comprising of a mixture between 'Warnings/Promises' and the edgier 'Make Another World', Idlewild successfully make the album they have threatened to make for a long time.
'Younger than America' gets the album rolling and one cannot help but hear elements of Teenage Fanclub. With a terrific key change mid-song it really gets your feet tapping along. Rod Jones stated that the album had "quite an upbeat feel" and you cannot help but wholeheartedly agree with him. 'Readers & Writers' and 'City Hall' follow and they take on a slightly pop direction - albeit in a good way - helped by the introduction of a brass band on the 'Readers & Writers', giving the track a majestic feel.
'(This Night Will) Bring Me Back To Life' see Woomble and Jones trading lines and creating an interesting dynamic between the two. 'Dreams Of Nothing' is another Idlewild classic which could easily be a top ten single. 'Take Me Back To Islands' is a song which would not be out of place on a Roddy Woomble solo release. It has a folk feel to it and features achingly gorgeous backing vocals from Heidi Talbot and a beautiful violin line from John McCusker.
The track 'Post-Electric' brings the album out of its sombre phase and gets the album moving with a distorted, guitar-driven piece of music and coupled with one of my personal favourites 'All Over Town', the album steps up a gear. We certainly cannot forget to mention the sing-along chorus of 'To Be Forgotten'. The album officially closes with the acoustic driven 'Take Me Back In Time', however those who pre-ordered the album receive the special bonus track 'No Wiser' and like many of its predecessors on this album, it could have easily been a single. Idlewild are obviously back on top form.
Whilst many people would be pining for a return to '100 Broken Windows' or 'The Remote Part', 'Post Electric Blues' is an album that can stand up and be counted. It should be great to see these songs translated to a live stage. It is a strong comeback for the band, especially since they are doing it on their own terms. It may even see them return to venues that the commercially successful 'The Remote Part' took them and secure them a new generation of fans.