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Idlewild - Interview Music (Album Review)

Friday, 12 April 2019 Written by Graeme Marsh

‘Interview Music’, Idlewild’s eighth studio album, finds them following up on the relative success of their 2015 comeback ‘Everything Ever Written’. After a break of six years, that LP surprised a few by sending their sweeping indie-rock back into the UK top 20. Here, though, things seem a little different.

Since their punky outset, moods have tempered within the band. ‘Interview Music’ pitches itself on the middle ground in the main, with some oddities thrown in to give the album, recorded at guitarist Rod Jones’s Edinburgh studio, an edge as well as a welcome air of freshness.

“A lot of the songs are about dreams and dreaming and the thoughts and ideas that come from this state,” frontman Roddy Woomble has said of the record.

An attention-grabbing bassline ushers in an immediate nod to that with the opener Dream Variations, which then takes a detour, just like said dream, into psychedelia. “Dreams, why do they have to be so cruel?” Woomble observes.

Mount Analogue also delves into psych, this time with a jazzy, unpredictable element secreted alongside Ocean Colour Scene-like guitars, while further Britpop checkpoints are also crossed during the spiky Miracles.

At times recalling Prefab Sprout, Teenage Fanclub and the Decemberists, the familiarity of the album’s safer soft-rock aspect is what provides a solid base for its gems to shine. Forever New is comforting Sunday afternoon fodder with some delightful guitars, while the excellent, chugging motorik beat of I Almost Didn’t Notice creates a soothing vibe.

But the biggest highlights on ‘Interview Music’ undeniably come during its first four tracks, giving it a lopsided appearance. There’s A Place For Everything is chirpy, upbeat and catchy despite boasting its share of off-the-wall lyrics, and the radio-ready All These Words is equally enjoyable, following polite chord sequences in a manner that suggests James at their most anthemic.

Possibly topping the lot is the title track, where compelling keys and edgy guitars bounce along as the lyrics squeeze themselves into improbable places—it’s like someone singing directly from a book they’ve grabbed off the shelf, moulding the words into the framework of the music. Think a mini Marquee Moon and you’re not far off.

There’s something easy about ‘Interview Music’—it’s like sliding into an old pair of slippers that were once impossible to prise from your feet. As its closing track declares, it’s too Familiar To Ignore. It’s not going to rip up trees but it earns a solid position among Idlewild’s discography. And that can’t be bad for a band that’s been hanging around slightly off centre since 1998.

Idlewild Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri April 19 2019 - LIVERPOOL Grand Central Hall
Sat April 20 2019 - BRISTOL Anson Rooms
Mon April 22 2019 - EXETER Exeter Phoenix
Tue April 23 2019 - SOUTHAMPTON Southampton Engine Rooms
Thu April 25 2019 - LEEDS Leeds Beckett Student Union
Fri April 26 2019 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Sun April 28 2019 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Mon April 29 2019 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Tue April 30 2019 - NORWICH Waterfront
Wed May 01 2019 - CAMBRIDGE J1, Cambridge Junction
Thu May 02 2019 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Riverside
Sat May 04 2019 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Sun May 05 2019 - ABERDEEN Aberdeen Music Hall

Click here to compare & buy Idlewild Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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