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there and we went for a month or so doing dates and ended up staying much longer than we expected.’
In that time they toured lots. hooked up with Patti Smith cohort and NYC rock legend Lenny Kaye and endeared themselves to the more discerning of north Americans. ‘They treated us like their long lost indie cousins.’ laughs Woomble. The album became a cult favourite and they returned to Scotland to ﬁnd the stuff they’d recorded with Street didn’t ﬁt with their plans. They returned to the studio filled with inspiration from Lenny Kaye to record with Dave Eringa. The resulting eleven tracker is their most accomplished work to date.
Whatever you think of Woomble’s rock star credentials. he certainly has ideas beyond the indie aesthetic. ‘When people say “indie rock band”. people just assume there’s no ambition and you want to wear crap shoes. I’m ambitious but I still like wearing crap shoes.’
He’s in good company. too (footwear aside). being an integral part of a bizarre rock love quartet and not just its cutesy frontispiece. There’s guitarist Rod Jones. a man gifted with eyes a boy band member would maim for and whose flailing on-stage movements give rise to the rumour that he believes his trusty axe to be a live snake. Then there’s Colin Newton, the mild-mannered sticksman and Jones’ partner in the Idlewild comedy double act . . . and lest we forget Bob. the man Fairfoull. the original bassist Christ—superstar. A local landmark in his own right and thus far the only band member to indulge in his own. albeit low-key. solo musical crusade.
To date. Idlewild’s musical cartography includes the ravaged indie teen punk pop landscape of mini album Captain and the exquisitely titled debut platter Hope Is Important. Both are inconsistent. scattergun mashes of enthusiastic ideas poured onto tape. But even now in the face of so much plastic sub- Green Day power pop. it is an exhilarating ride. and one that too few bands have the nerve to embark upon.
Label budgets and demand for instant returns stop many bands developing. Not so with Idlewild. And subsequently they rattled out a more patient expressive beat on their considered second 100 Broken Windows. They exploded onto Top Of The Pops at this time and near constant touring helped their popularity grow.
2002 could well be their year; but even if it isn’t. they know they’re still getting better. Newton and Woomble both agree that the band are finally reaching their potential. “There’s a lot more clarity to this than stuff in the past.’ says Woomble with pride. ‘We’ve learned to combine all the things we’re good at. Think of any band whether it’s At The Drive-In or U2. and they really only write three kinds of songs. but if done well. that can span a helluva lot. I think we’ve just
18 THE LIST 25 Apr—9 May 2002
learned to write our third type of song really well.’
‘Well. certainly we’ve got two out of three down.’ reckons Newton. 'And two out of three isn’t bad at all.’
But what makes them special? There are a million rooms with a million groups struggling with their instruments in much the same way. What about the titles: 'You Held The World In Your Arms’. ‘Last Night I Missed All The Fireworks’. ‘Everyone Says You’re So Fragile’ and ‘Queen Of The Troubled Teens"? They reflect Woomble’s ease with language and resistance to be shoehorned into rock cliche. He has a loquacious style that echoes the Manics’ bookish intelligence but expresses it in an unpretentious way.
This is bolted to some immensely dynamic. often unorthodox guitar and rhythm work. Jones taking inspiration from many. not least his wayward pal Graham Coxon from Blur who has similar disrespect for rock archetypes. Oh. and did we mention they can write a chorus that could make a heart explode with joy‘.’ Yeah. that too.
And now it’s time for the world to hear it. Woomble is more self—assured than ever and rightfully so. ‘lf there’s ever been a point in the five or six years we’ve actually been completely prepared for everyone to like us. it’s now. We are ready to be popular. Again that’s only if we get introduced to that audience and whether they’ll want to meet us. but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t: the songs are pretty easy to eat.’ He pauses before laughing: ‘That’s a pretty strange thing to say isn’t it‘?’
So will Idlewild be the new REM? Who cares“? We can’t get rid of the last one so why should we excitedly anticipate the rise of another? This is pop and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world as we know it to make you feel tine.
Idlewild play Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 3 May; The Remote Part is released on Parlophone in July.
We have managed to get our hands on one pair of tickets for the completely sold out Idlewild show on Friday 3 May at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh and we want to give them to you. If you want to be the lucky duck who gets them, just send us an email marked ‘IDLEWILD’ to promotions©list.co.uk or on a postcard to The List, 14 High St, Edinburgh, EH1 1TE. First name out of the hat wins. Deadline for entries is Wednesday 1 May. Please include a daytime telephone number. Usual conditions apply.
Double take: guitarist Rod Jones, singer Roddy Woomble, drummer Colin Newton and bassist Bob Fairfoull
‘If we have ever been prepared for everyone to like us, it’s now’