Make Another World Label: Sanctuary
If you’ve been an Idlewild fan since they first hit the scene, you probably found 2005’s Warnings / Promises a bit disappointing. Not that it was a bad album, per se; it’s more that Roddy Woomble and the lads set the bar pretty damned high with 2002’s The Remote Part. (Mind you, there’s at least one camp of fans that remains steadfast in their belief that it was a contractual obligation album, in order to excuse what they view as a sub-par performance.) Then again, if you’ve really been an Idlewild fan since they first hit the scene, you’re already endured quite a bit of change, so you may just take these ups and downs in stride by now.
There’s been a gradual but considerable amount of sonic change for Idlewild, gradually moving from the raw, almost punk material that made up 1999’s Hope Is Important into the much smoother and far more radio-friendly sound of today. Whether that’s a good thing or not will depend on one’s individual tastes – yeah, I know, that’s a cop-out; so sue me – but at least to this writer’s ears, the band is on their way back to recapturing the glory of The Remote Part.
Starting the proceedings off with two straight-up rockers, “In Competition for the Worst time” and the stomping “Everything (As It Moves),” is certainly the right way to offer apologies for those who didn’t love the previous record. “No Emotion” appears next, and it sounds like a post-punk floor-filler waiting to happen, which might explain why a dance remix of the song was quickly made available; if the same doesn’t occur for “Ghost in the Arcade,” with its blend of burbling keyboards and shredding guitar, consider it a major opportunity missed. Once upon a time, it would’ve been reasonable to suggest that every song on Make Another World had single potential, but, of course, it’s laughable to presume that even one song by the band could make any headway in the States; still, one has to think that, with the right push, the rapid-fire “If It Takes You Home” is worth two minutes of anyone’s time. The US version of the album features two additional tracks, “Hidden Ways” and “Lookin’ for a Love,” but, frankly, they sound tacked on in more ways than one. (You can tell they haven’t been mastered in the same manner as the rest of the record.)
Woomble’s recent solo foray into folk music doesn’t seem to have had any effect on Idlewild’s sound -- if anything, stepping away from the band for a bit has served to remind him what made them so good in the first place. Whatever the case, Make Another World makes another case for Idlewild as one of the better Scottish bands recording today.