Everything Ever Written

Written by: TL on 24/02/2015 21:43:04

With seven successful studio albums released between 1998's "Hope Is Important" and 2009's "Post Electric Blues", it's safe to say that Edinburgh band Idlewild has been one of the most important bands in Scottish rock for over a decade. Yet the group has been inactive since 09, with singer Roddy Woomble expressing waning interest with the traditional rock band approach following the release of "Post Electric Blues". After some time spent on solo ventures however, Woomble eventually reconnected with guitarist Rod Jones, and while the remaining members have all been substituted for its creation, Idlewild's 'comeback' album "Everything Ever Written" is now here.

Over time, the band has developed from a noisy, punk-ish version of brit-rock over a more produced, melancholic style on the early 00's efforts "The Remote Part" and "Warnings/Promises" which were arguably the band's most successful. With "Everything Ever Written", fans should prepare themselves for another doze of change however. Produced by Rod Jones himself, it should be no surprise that the sound is guitar-friendly, with the distortion cracking nicely through your headphones, in front of, yet not deafening the various supporting instruments nor Woombles' calm, Michael Stipe-ish singing. Both in tempo and melodiousness however, the style is distinctly more purposefully quirky and reflective than previously, sounding like the band is doing some casual armchair philosophy while taking inspiration from some of the wackier old Beatles records.

It's more of matter of atmosphere and nuance however, as you'll find the band's songwriting to still be tight as soon as you scratch the surface, and to begin with the album does offer a fair share of friendly moments, such as the "You are young but only for a moment in time" hook in opener "Collect Yourself", or the "So many things to decide" refrain in the supremely relaxed song of the third name, which ranks among the moments that almost get a bit folksy, drawing comparison to the warm, organic sound of a band like The Decemberists.

As the record moves on however, its calmness increasingly risks inducing drowsyness, and it becomes harder not to reminisce back to the urgency and anxiety that characterised some of the band's classic songs like "American English" or "Love Steals Us From Loneliness". A song like "Nothing I Can Do About It" takes exception with a bit of heightened tempo injected, but overall the sequence of songs feels quite complacement and figured out, which might make sense considering that Woomble and Jones are in their late thirties, but that doesn't mean it makes for a very engaging listen. Around midway, the length to listen to before the arrival of the otherwise cooled yet rousing piano of closer "Utopia" feels like it stretches beyond sight.

A rare bit of energy like that of "On Another Planet" also feels isolated and remote in between songs like "Like A Clown" and "All Things Different" then, and while each piece on the album has intricacies to offer, the combined impression seems geared primarily towards either the most tempered and intellectual of listeners, or the most casual - those content with the odd catchy melody or gimmicky trumpet fanfare. Overall then, Woomble and Jones revive Idlewild with dignity, yet in a very laid-back way, which has enough ideas that fans shouldn't be disappointed, but at the same time, "Everything Ever Written" isn't the sort of record that blows anything out of the water in the greater scope of 2015

Download: So Many Things To Decide, Collect Yourself, Utopia, Nothing I Can Do About It
For The Fans Of: Snow Patrol, REM, The Decemberists, Maximo Park

Release date 16.02.2015
Empty Words

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