After five years away, Idlewild are back and Everything Ever Written is the proud emblem of the reawakening of one of the finest indie rock bands to come out of Scotland.
Fans are reacquainted with the lyrical ingenuity of Roddy Woomble and the boisterous riffs which have endeared the band to so many. But alongside this, a more tender side of the band is explored through a folksier turn and is joyously delivered throughout.
Predecessor 2009’s Post Electric Blues felt hastily written. The album’s first few tracks were absolute crackers but the record couldn’t stay the course and tailed off into non-identity. This was a trap which seemed to pester the band that went on hiatus shortly after and the hangover could well have jeopardised Everything Ever Written.
So five years on, as Idlewild come out of the traps flying, with the hard-hitting ‘Collect Yourself’, this unwittingly springs to mind. However Everything Ever Written has a much wider scope and Idlewild confidently carry the opener’s momentum throughout. A moment is not squandered, from the assertive riff of ‘Collect Yourself’ through the romantic folk ballad of ‘Every Little Means Trust’ to the chiming piano-notes of finale ‘Utopia’. This is certainly Idlewild’s most well-rounded produce since 2005’s sublime Warnings/Promises.
During stand-out track ‘Come on Ghost’ Roddy Woomble sings:
“An explosion in the sewer/The rats that pine for sunshine have found a new way to get it”
This is the core of Idlewild’s craft. Woomble’s lyrics are powerfully simple, fuelled by clever turns of phrase and flashes of intense imagery. Lyrically Idlewild remain in an elite class.
As ‘Come On Ghost’ builds into a climax, frenzied with distortion, rough-edged riffs and the surprise of a saxophone solo, it becomes clear that the aptly named eighth studio album Everything Ever Written really is the culmination of everything the band has released in their long career. The punch-drunk youthful energy of 100 Broken Windows drives the pace of ‘On Another Planet’ as much as the cinematic style of Warnings/Promises shines through on ’Nothing I Can Do About It’.
The organ led ‘So Many Things To Decide’ is a swirling country affair and it sounds like the end of a oddly sad jamboree as Woomble repeats, “Did you ever get the feeling that I made important decisions far too late in life?” At this point, only three tracks into the record, the range of sounds and styles is already enormous. But the coherence with which they’re delivered is staggering. This feeling only grows as the middle of the record is bursting with romantic ballads and vivid heart-warmers such as ‘(Use it) If You Can Use It’ and ‘Like a Clown’.
On the record’s release Woomble commented, "The record soundtracks a period of transition. Working without time constraints gave the whole thing a creative freedom. Idlewild is a new band to me now; I’m excited for the future." After this outing – so are we. Having pooled the best aspects of their 20-year back-catalogue into one assured album, Idlewild are back and have plenty to offer.