Wednesday, 18 February 2015

REVIEW: Idlewild - 'Everything Ever Written' (Empty Words Records)


Scottish indie legends Idlewild return after a six year hiatus with their seventh studio album, and it doesn't disappoint. Sturdy opening track 'Collect Yourself' bursts in with hungry vigour, matching the slinky groove of its verse with a joyous chorus and a fattened riff that packs one hell of a punch. But don't let it fool you into thinking that the band have returned to the heavier sound of their early days, as the remainder of 'Everything Ever Written' demonstrates the sort of wisdom that comes with natural maturity. The steady 'Come On Ghost' is an effective marriage of folk and classic rock, 'So Many Things To Decide' evokes the sleepy charm of remote Scottish countryside, and the brilliant 'Nothing I Can Do About It' mixes melancholy with infectious resonance to provide one of the highlights of not just this album, but the group's career.



The reflective 'Every Little Means Trust' is the record's lighters-in-the-air moment, while centrepiece '(Use It) If You Can Use It' is a bright grower that develops into a surprising, almost Krautrock-esque jam before breaking the volume levels towards its massive climax. After the gracefully decorated 'Like A Clown', another one of the record's best tracks arrives with the excellent 'On Another Planet', an uptempo blast of much-needed energy that's more reminiscent of early Idlewild than anything else here. 'All Things Different' brings unexpected spells of saxophone and rich piano to compliment its endearing lyrical imagery, and the lovely 'Radium Girl' thrives with some nice melotron, another bold uplifting chorus and effortlessly brilliant basslines from new recruit Andrew Mitchell. With its fine instrumentation and dark elegance, 'Left Like Roses' is another treat, and the sparse, beautifully arranged closer 'Utopia' bathes in a wondrous ambience which frames Roddy Woomble's glorious voice so well.


'Eveything Ever Written' is possibly a couple of tracks too long, and could have made more of an impression as a slightly shorter album, however its high points are marvellous. Listeners will need a patient ear to fully appreciate this alluring piece of work which combines the wistful quality of Woomble's solo work with the power of vintage Idlewild, but such patience will be rewarded. 8/10



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