The album's title and pastoral cover image are the first signs that Idlewild's Roddy Woomble has gone folk. And yes, a majority of My Secret Is My Silence sees Woomble operating in an acoustic folk vein and even recruiting the sweet-voiced folkie Kate Rusby to handle background vocals, harmonies, and occasional female counterpoints. But Woomble heading into pastures and fields shouldn't be a surprise. While Idlewild started out as a furious, messy indie rock band, Warnings/Promises, the group's most recent effort before this solo outing, sometimes skewed resolutely toward R.E.M.'s more jangly moments. Other than the somewhat out-of-place instrumental flute-fest "Whiskeyface," My Secret Is My Silence drifts between two poles. There are pensive, brittle ballads like the gorgeous, lilting "If I Could Name Any Name" and the introspective "I Came from the Mountain" on one hand, and on the other hand midtempo to urgent storming tracks indistinguishable from Idlewild fare other than the presence of fiddles and folksy percussion in the place of electric guitars and distortion pedals. Indeed, Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones co-wrote a handful of tracks and is a featured player throughout. Producer John McCusker finds a solid middle ground between traditional folk elements and catchy rock sheen. Woomble is in fine voice, and Rusby's gentle tone is a perfect complement as she returns the favor Woomble offered on her album The Girl Who Couldn't Fly. On the title track, Woomble sings about approaching land without a harbor and finding his way home, and stripping down his music to the roots on this solo effort, he seems to find himself emotionally centered and artistically renewed. This fragile but certain solo outing will please old and new fans alike.
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AllMusic Review by Tim DiGravina