Idlewild

Make Another World

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It's to that louder, harder, heavier prowess that Idlewild returns its sights on Make Another World, and everybody's happy. Sure, why not? It's what they're best at, and what excites most. Freed from a four-LP Parlophone/EMI deal that had gone stale -- especially in the U.S., where Capitol had undercut their potential with belated releases (whereas Sanctuary licensed World for April, only one month after its import) -- the newly indie band feels as reborn as the title boasts. It was a wise move to rehire Eringa (Manic Street Preachers); he restores the sword edge in their guitars, and the snap in new (third) bassist Gareth Russell's bass and Colin Newton's thunderous, tight drums. But this is also a committed band baring their buried teeth again. Anyone who's seen Idlewild knows how quickly they burst into a manic force that, like Nirvana without the hard rock/metalisms, makes you feel like you're rollerblading and holding on to a speeding truck. See the five-pack that brings back 2002's The Remote Part's uptempo slammers. Like that LP's hammering "A Modern Way of Letting Go," its doppelganger, "If It Takes You Home" is fast, furious, rushing, and sharp as nails, recalling the "wind 'em up, let 'er rip" leap of the Sorry Ma/Stink Replacements. "Everything (As It Moves)," "A Ghost in the Arcade," the opening "In Competition for the Worst Time," and the closing "Finished It Remains" likewise spring from speakers like soda from a shaken can, with mad Rod Jones' stabbing guitar leading a livid charge. The rest maintains the pressure, debuting a dance skip on the single "No Emotion" and doleful horns on the only Warnings-esque song, "Make Another World." Of course, that's not all. Roddy Woomble's singing and words are always worth the cash, especially since he stopped shouting after 1998's Hope Is Important. His throaty crooning, like a cross of Scottish antecedents Roddy Frame and Frank Reader (Trash Can Sinatras) with Mike Stipe, remains in fine form. And of his observations, the best is the wisdom of "Future Words" ("You can steal what you love/But you can't love what you steal)," but the dignified disgust for American unilateralism imbued in the title track ("Let your tears fall in the shape/Of every one of the American states") is also emotive. Maybe World lacks the unhinged explosions of 2000's zenith 100 Broken Windows, or the epic grandeur of the topsy-turvy Remote. But there's not an ounce of filler in its lean 35 minutes, a tight ten-song LP like the vinyl era. Idlewild is a mature band able to summon a heavy past without sounding desperate, reconnecting to a time when life could be gassed by a Superchunk, Jawbox, Sebadoh, or Poster Children tune. Give it a home, and encourage them to make more.

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