Idlewild – Post Electric Blues

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Photo by Sarah Roberts

So the picture attached to this post is just for my wife. You see, she has a thing for Roddy Woomble. Rod Jones, Idlewild’s guitarist lives just around the corner from us in Leith (or used to) and Pamela did once ask me if I thought that if she hung about outside his flat entrance Roddy might visit him one time whilst she was there. It’s all in jest of course, she’s a normal girl really! Anyways, I was going to put up a picture of the band, but then I thought they might detract from Roddy so, Pamela, this is just for you!

But don’t be confused, this post is not about Roddy Woomble solely but indeed a review of Idlewild’s brand new album ‘Post Electric Blues’ which is not actually released yet as far as I am aware nor am I aware when it’s official release is. You see, us dedicated Idlewild fans were given the opportunity to get early copies of the new album by pre-ordering and helping the band finance an album that, as far as I am aware, is a self release. As such, we get the album early, our names on the inside sleeve and we get to download live tracks taken from their string of King Tuts shows at the end of last year. It’s a lovely touch from the band if you ask me and I feel very lucky to have the album at this stage before its release to the wider world.

Idlewild will forever have a special place in my heart. 100 Broken Windows used to accompany me on trips between Dundee and Arbroath on the old, tedious Arbroath Road and is, without doubt, on my all time top 10 albums list. I love that album. I will never tire of it. I’ve also said before on this blog how important I think Roddy Woomble is as a Scottish musician. Not only has he produced some great albums with Idlewild, he’s also curated Ballad of the Books, released a brilliant Scottish Folk solo album and more recently another great folk album with John McCusker and Kris Drever among other things. So yeah, my wife fancies him and I think he’s a magnificent artist.

I have to be honest, I thought ‘Make A New World’ was a brilliant record. Clocking in at about 30 minutes it was almost the perfect length for the kind of album it was. But that’s what I love most about Idlewild, not knowing what to expect next and this album is no exception as I fully expected a follow on from the previous album. It’s all a bit of a surprise to be honest. Opening track ‘Younger Than America’ is simply brilliant reminding me in a strange way of Counting Crows at their very ‘Murder Of One’ best. But this album sees Idlewild drifting more towards Scottish folk elements than ever before. The American twangs of previous albums are still evident but wonderful little Scottish folk songs such as ‘(The Night Will) Bring You Back To Life’, ‘Take Me Back To The Islands’ and ‘Takes Me Back In Time’ would sit easily on one of Woomble’s more recent folk exploits. As ever though the band still rock out when they can and there are brilliant guitar riffs a plenty as well as the always excellent backing vocals of Rod Jones. This is an interesting change of direction for Idlewild. I’m still getting used to it if I’m honest. But it’s been on repeat since it arrived last weekend so it’s safe to say that it’s a winner in my eyes. I don’t think they’ll ever match 100 Broken Windows, but if they keep putting out albums of this quality then I’ll keep paying to help them make them. Lovely stuff.

Out of respect for the request made by the band, I’m not posting any of the new tunes but I will shortly fire up some old favourites to enjoy.

TSP Grade = B-

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