Idlewild - Make Another World
Record Label: Sequel
Release Date: March 5, 2007
Hailing from Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, Idlewild have slowly grown both in commercial success and as musicians. In the beginning their music had a very raw, abrasive feel (check early release Hope is Important), but through years of experience and increasing maturity, the band has become a master of their craft, creating commercially appealing music while at the same time not discarding the DIY values demonstrated in their earlier releases.
Now, I'll be honest. I've liked Idlewild for quite a few years now. Probably six or seven years, give or take. So you'd expect I'd be raving about this release, saying it's the best they've ever done. Well, honestly it's not their best. However, that's not to say it's bad, or even that it's a disappointment. Sure, it's not groundbreaking, and there are now countless bands making similar music to the indie-pop rock of Make Another World, yet the sound still has an air of distinction, making it instantly recognizable to anyone who has heard the music of Idlewild before.
The album begins with "In Competition for the Worst Time," one of the weaker tracks. Rhythmically (and to some extent, lyrically), it reminds me of an modernized version of a song by The Smiths. Unfortunately, the production is a tad disappointing; in the final mix the guitar overpowers the vocals somewhat. It leaves the song sounding unclear, and prevents it from being as easy to listen to as it could be if the vocals were in front, even if just slightly further forward. "Everything as It Moves" takes us back to Idlewild's earlier, and much celebrated work 100 Broken Windows with a catchy hook and driving rhythm section. "No Emotion" is a standout track. It is probably the most commercially viable effort on the album with a disco beat and catchy melody. This is where Idlewild are at their strongest, masterfully combining Roddy Woomble's perfectly articulated lyrics with a memorable melodic hook. Other tracks deserving a mention are "If It Takes You Home" (again a throwback to previous albums 100 Broken Windows and The Remote Part) and "Once in Your Life" with Woomble's poetic lyrics completely open to individual interpretation.
The lyrical content of Idlewild's songs has always been a huge plus factor for me as they are vague enough to warrant your own interpretation, yet specific enough to gather the reasons and meaning behind them. The way Woomble sings in his own broad Scottish accent (Carnoustie, Angus to be exact) adds an individuality to the band, and adds a sense of authenticity to what is being sung. The words are sung with such clarity and self-assurance and sound honest and endearing as he sings completely naturally in this accent.
Considering this is the band's fifth album, they have done an excellent job remaining enthusiastic and passionate in the music they have created. If you like Idlewild, it's a safe bet you will enjoy this. If you haven't heard them, give this a spin and then take a listen to 100 Broken Windows or The Remote Part. For some Make Another World will be a disappointment as it isn't as raw or energetic as previous material, but for others the maturity and variety will be very much appreciated. Overall, this is another solid effort from Woomble and co. Support the Scottish poets.