Review Summary: Idlewild show their true colours with "The Remote Part", and blow the minds of everyone who listens to it in the process.
Idlewild were originally known for spiky indie-punk anthems with REM influences that were demonstrated on their second album, 100 Broken Windows. Singer Roddy Woomble showed that he had a good range, able to perform cathartic roars and fine singing without breaking a sweat.
However, "The Remote Part" is Idlewild redefined.
It hits hard and fast with opener "You Held The World In Your Arms", a brilliant, sweeping rock song with a fine string arrangement that only adds to it as a whole. Woomble's vocals are, as always, faultless.
"A Modern Way Of Letting Go" growls and crunches with hard-rock anger, but its musical vitriol is tempered by Woomble's superb, emotional lyrics, and it is short without feeling like it never reached its potential.
"American English" was one of the singles off of the album, and with good reason. It is an unashamed ballad, with a chorus that is sure to stick in hearts and minds for a long time.
"I Never Wanted" is not quite as strong as the songs preceding it, but it doesn't jar enough to drop the album's pace, being still a well-written piece of music.
"(I Am) What I Am Not" crunches and snarls with Idlewild's characteristic rock majesty, and is, again, short but very sweet.
"Live In A Hiding Place" is a poppy gem amongst the crunching guitars, with acoustic guitars followed by a breathtaking chorus making for a real standout song. It is a shame that a genuinely fantastic tune such as this did not make the number one spot on the singles chart - it more than deserves to.
"Out Of Routine" tears out of the speakers with the force of an express train, with some of the loudest and most crashing guitar on the whole album, and Woomble's vocals soaring above. One to treasure - its chorus ("If your heart gets in the way / Of what you wanted to deny") is heartfelt, passionate, and unforgettable.
"Century After Century" shows a mid-way between the balladry and the rock, with great results - lacerating guitars over a steady pace and excellent knowledge of melody are allowed to run free.
"Tell Me Ten Words" starts gentle and folky, which allows the listener to relax and be lulled by its gentle guitars... until it blindsides you by crashing into an excellent piece of rock in the way that only Idlewild can. Superb.
"Stay The Same" is an uptempo rocker that has a soaring chorus that is utterly anthemic - it just feels right. Idlewild really know how to let loose without losing their unique instrumentation and harmonic genius, and this is shown fantastically on this truly memorable piece of fiery rock.
"In Remote Part" is the end point, and begins with gentle interplay between electric and acoustic guitar, allowing Woomble's poetic and intelligent vocals to mesh with the mix, until, with heart-stopping speed, the song suddenly turns into a fantastic, tumbling, rolling beast of guitar rock, with poet Edwin Morgan reading a poem over the top which fits.
"The Remote Part" truly deserves every bit of praise that it receives - it is Idlewild when they have found their niche, and the results are astonishing. A modern classic.