Parlophone – 2005 - 47 minutes
Four albums in and Idlewild are feeling the pace. Unable or unwilling to shed their REM shadow, the Scottish quintet need surgery, but have settled for the painkillers instead.
Even with repeated listening, this record's charms remain elusive. Perhaps there simply aren't any, but it's frustrating when you also get the sense that some degree of care and craft went into it. It often sounds deeply personal, but with the result that it just doesn't reach out from the speakers.
Most albums have a unifying thread, be it in mood or tempo. Bands bring baggage to sessions, and it is this baggage which fuels the recording process. For good or bad. Here, it's more the latter. Too many tracks are not just cut from the same cloth, they're clones. And while Roddy Woomble's voice is distinctive, it lacks the idiosyncratic allure of other singers. It's earnest, but goes nowhere.
'Warnings/Promises' is measured, tight and solid. But for all of those read slow, stiff and stagnant. Idlewild have become the class swots, but for all their hard work they're finding it harder to make it pay.
Tracklisting: Love Steals Us From Loneliness – Welcome Home – I Want A Warning – I Understand It – As If I Hadn't Slept – Too Long Awake – Not Just Sometimes But Always – The Space Between All Things – El Capitan – Blame It On Obvious Ways – Disconnected – Goodnight