Whilst not quite, as they were once described, a flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs, Idlewild still have that spark that gets people excited. The fiercely Scottish band, who started out so wild, brutal and unpredictable before electing to go all mellow country, are back on the road in support of new album Everything Ever Written.
The album in question is a daring return – beautiful, full of confidence, and coming more than five years after the band’s previous effort. More country folk than punk squall, it does have the odd rock-out moment. Live, the new songs – even the most melodic ones – are frenetic, coming across a touch more urgent. Yet, sadly, they manage to fall just short of the classics in terms of whipping up the crowd.
That said, all of the songs go down incredibly well, with a clearly appreciative audience hanging on every poetic and confusing word that spills from frontman Roddy Woomble’s mouth.
Playing a nice mix of new and old material, the stand-out numbers, which the band appear more than happy rocking out to, include fan favourite Little Discourage, the sweeping You Held The World In Your Arms and new track Collect Yourself. A full band version of current album closer Utopia also gets a rapturous applause.
The one constant spanning new and old is Woomble’s poetic and moving lyrics, which sound just as compelling now as they did when they were screamed out over furious loops of feedback and crashing drums 10 years ago.
The hunger and bite of the band’s early years may now be all but gone, but in its place is something just as exciting, confident and assured – if more mature. Idlewild are still a band you can lose yourself in, just in a slightly different way.
Words: Ben Russell | Photos: Jonathan Morgan