Idlewild have never quite known where they fit. Sitting stubbornly outside of any particular scene, they’re one of Britain’s biggest outsider acts, a group whose span moves from the West Coast of Scotland to the West Coast of the United States.
‘Interview Music’ was constructed somewhere between the Outer Hebrides and Los Angeles, with Edinburgh brought into focus as the hinge for these two compass points.
A mature but fiery, poetic but punk statement, its contradictory force finds Idlewild relishing their curiously individual place in the music pantheon. ‘Dream Variations’ is a direct, propulsive opening gambit, but it never visits the same place twice; perpetually in motion, it somehow manages to be both jagged post-punk and palatial psych-pop within seconds.
‘There’s A Place For Everything’ is a curiously 80s leaning effort, recalling Tears For Fears or even Talk Talk in its off piste pop appetite. ‘All These Words’ is a surging torrent of energy, capturing Idlewild’s live appeal while adding some studio precision.
‘Same Things Twice’ harks back to the brutality of ‘Hope Is Important’, the chopped up, jagged guitar chords set against oblique keyboard lines. ‘I Almost Didn’t Notice’ meanwhile, opens in languid, almost ambient territory, before diving into a bass-heavy West Coast twilight jammer.
Expect the unexpected is a recurring tale on ‘Interview Music’. It’s the sound of a band reinforcing their inherent creativity by accepting new ideas, and it makes for a warming, addictive listen. ‘Mount Analogue’ opens in Baroque territory, before somehow linking Stax horns to wailing Thin Lizzy guitar lines, a bombastic but still inherently Idlewild treat.
Ending with the plaintive balladry of the piano-flecked ‘Lake Martinez’, Idlewild’s eight studio is one of their most daring, diverse, and dynamic yet. It’s a record dominated by sudden about-turns, but these can only be executed due to the band’s sheer grasp of their own identity.
Bold, immersive, and not easy to pin down, ‘Interview Music’ affords Idlewild the space to find renewal in new ideas, a record driven by conviction, collaboration and the urge towards communication.
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