Hope Is Important
By: Eric G.
Idlewild is a quartet from Edinburgh, Scotland that made its name through a series of blistering live shows in 1995, where the band is said to have evoked the ghosts of Husker Du and early Jesus Lizard. Hope Is Important is the band’s second full-length but first for a major. This record was actually released a year ago in Europe, but it’s just now coming out stateside. Idlewild mixes energetic punk with an ear for irresistibly catchy riffs and upbeat rhythms. The band intersperses short, angry songs in between melodic pop songs that retain just enough edge to keep the punk kids happy.
The directness of the lyrics reminds me of Jawbreaker’s extremely sentimental self-awareness. Idlewild’s punk songs are pretty abrasive for something on a major label, which is more than I could say about Jawbreaker’s major label debut. “You’ve Lost Your Way” and “4 People Do Good” chug quickly with libidinous guitars and screeching, guttural vocals, but then the band doesn’t hesitate to throw in an acoustic ballad like “I’m Happy To Be Here Tonight.” Such unabashed versatility and lack of allegiance to one genre are impressive traits in such a young band.
The band’s accents are surprisingly hard to detect being from Scotland, but sometimes the band’s brashness reveals a hint of brogue as on “You Don’t Have The Heart.” Lead Singer Roddy Woomble’s voice has a mutli-faceted range of tones. He can sound pristine as a choirboy one moment and then shriek like Kurt Cobain the next. Idlewild is trotting down a beaten path but songcraft always wins out, and this record shows all the right signs for good things to come.