Review Summary: Idlewild have to climb, and climb, and climb some more to get themselves out of the hole they've dug with [I]Make Another World[/I].
Steve Lamacq must be kicking himself. Okay, maybe not. But I would. Every band goes through phases of progression that determines the direction their music will take. For Idlewild, the road most traveled was unfortunately, not the way to go. Especially since they seem to have fallen off a cliff, taking most of their cred with them, and leaving only a smattering of hope for a recovery on a path that few bands have successfully managed to extricate themselves from.
Roddy Woomble has clearly run out of ideas. He even sounds 'same'. On the opening track of Make Another World, In Competition For The Worst Time
, you could bet it was Paul Banks (Interpol) handling the microphone. On the rest of the album he shifts from Gary Lightbody to Michael Stipe (somebody who has clearly played a major influence in this release) to a male Dolores O'Riordan without much difficulty and charisma.
Idlewild have had a history of radio friendly Alt-pop releases that have seen the band retain a niche in Scotland and the rest of the world. But where they managed to set themselves a crow left apart on previous outings, on their new album they seem to have found themselves sitting in the shadow of a big sign that says, in bright bold lettering, "R.E.M. weds Snow Patrol
". It's a sad situation Idlewild finds themselves in, and unfortunately, they seem to be happy digging deeper in this relentlessly hopeless situation.
Musically, the album follows the traditional songwriting formula - verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus. Each and every song follows this to the extent that you can time the leads without even listening to them. Once again, the band depends on Rod Jones' guitar prowess to drive the songs a step higher, but even Jones seems tired and unimaginative ripping off hooks from The Cranberries and Snow Patrol, just adding a little distortion that does nothing more than make the songs sound a little 'heavier' and lot cliche. Everything (As It Moves)
is Idlewild's attempt at creating a bigger, stadium sound, but they end up sounding like a very, very juvenile U2.
In the lyrics department we see further chaos. The choruses simply repeat single lines and the verses are backed with cheesy, 80s pop oohs and aahs. "The truth is true no matter how you act"
. Seriously Roddy, get a thesaurus and read some books. It's disappointing to see a band, who were at one time looked at with the same eyes as Echo And The Bunnymen, now fall from such great heights (no, no Postal Service pun here).
On the faint bright side, there are tracks like Make Another World
and Once In Your Life
that don't sound entirely derived, and leave hope for a better next album. But till then, it's the entire pre-MAW, Idlewild catalog that you should keep on loop.