Idlewild Warnings/Promises

Idlewild Warnings/Promises
Though Coldplay may be the undisputed kings of studious Britrock, for the past seven years, Scotland’s Idlewild have prospered in mixing sincere emotion into both noisy and quiet guitar-led rock with lyrics similar to prose an English Lit prof would write. Led by the cordial and wise voice of Roddy Woomble, Idlewild play like the smart kids in school — educating and heartening with their emotive words, keen sense of melody and opportune mix of rock and folk. On their fourth album, Warnings/Promises, songs like "I Understand It” and "Not Just Sometimes But Always” prove they’re enough to move mountains, with Woomble pleading his colourfully academic lyrics over beautifully arranged, soft instrumentation. However, what’s always been Idlewild’s strong suit is their ability to channel their noisy, youthful past, and it’s still on hand this time out in a prevalent way. "I Want a Warning” is controlled by Rod Jones’s dirty metallic blues riff, while "Too Long Awake” is arguably the guitarist’s finest moment, using classic Kevin Shields-approved effects to dictate the song. And yet, it’s "Disconnected,” the band’s stab at slide guitar-driven country, that drives the album home and confirm this band’s continual progress beyond the lazy R.E.M. and Nirvana comparisons. Warnings/Promises is a great achievement for this band and another fine chapter in their burgeoning story.

This album marks the first time band members have written together as a whole. Jones: Yeah, the writing had become quite insular between Roddy and I due to a bunch of different reasons, such as lack of interest. This time with new people in the band and new ideas we really tried to open it up so everybody was contributing and see what happens. It was definitely a difficult process to start with; it took a long time to work out how to be in a band that way. We came out with a much different sounding record than we would have otherwise.

What inspired you to try your hand at country music with "Disconnected”? We’ll write a song and then think about how to record it afterwards. With that song it cried out for that kind of treatment. Without taking our band that way I think it could have been a dull song.

It’s nice to see you’re still pumping out the loud rock tunes. People seem to think we’re turning into a folk band but we’ve always been a noisy rock band and over the years we’ve become so much more educated and exposed to different kinds of music. There’s definitely an element of the band that likes to make as much noise and be as frantic as possible. (EMI)