Idlewild possess the capability to lob frequent sonic hand grenades into occasionally...
Julian Marszalek 2007-09-28
By paying scant regard throughout their career to what was going on around them – the fag end of Britpop, the so-called New Rock Revolution and the revival of post-punk’s spikiness - Scottish quartet, Idlewild, have always been regarded as indie’s also-rans. An unfair view perhaps because, as evidenced by this round up of their finer moments, Idlewild possess the capability to lob frequent sonic hand grenades into occasionally moribund scenes.
Granted, the band’s debt to REM proved to be writ a little too largely over their less satisfying moments – witness “As If I Hadn’t Slept” and “I Understand It” from the underwhelming Warnings/Promises album – but with this collection wisely assembled in a non-chronological order, Idlewild’s shortcomings soon pale into insignificance in light of their finer offerings.
The panoramic sweep of UK Top 10 single “You Held The World In Your Arms” still remains the greatest song never written by Morrissey and Marr while the anthemic arms-aloft gesture of “American English” deserves to be met with the twinkling of thousands of lighters at every airing. Indeed, it’s the selections from The Remote Part and its predecessor of two years, 2000’s 100 Broken Windows, that form the most succulent morsels of this cherry-picked platter. The explosive “A Modern Way Of Letting Go” has lost none of its power to serrate speakers as elsewhere, “Little Discourage” crackles with all the energy of an out-of-control power plant.
Tellingly, Idlewild now find themselves looking over their own shoulders as they move on. “No Emotion” and the title track from this year’s Make Another World make nods to their prickly past and though they may not match the fury of “When I Argue I See Shapes”, there’s a reassurance to be had as the band finds comfort in its own skin.
Whether Idlewild, by coming full circle, continue to plough their individual furrow or not remains to be seen but this compilation stands as a fine introduction for newcomers and a gentle reminder for long-term observers alike.