Having been around the block a few times (for two decades, essentially), Idlewild aren’t exactly the most complex of creatures to wrap one’s ears around. We know what they do well – melodic hooks, chord progressions that more often than not surprise and welcome the listener, and tight, well-oiled compositions that range from the raw to the serene. Now, after a somewhat quiet period consisting of the odd tour date, festival slot and Roddy Woomble’s solo excursions, Idlewild have returned with Everything Ever Written, their first full-length since 2009’s largely maudlin, intermittently excellent Post Electric Blues.
Everything Ever Written doesn’t really re-invent the wheel either. What it does, and does so with confidence, is reverberate the fact that Idlewild are a greatly reliable unit. This latest record is testament to Woomble and co’s knack for maintaining a decent level of creativity and tracks like ‘Come On Ghost’ and ‘So Many Things To Decide’ reiterate that despite Idlewild’s hiatus, they’re still able to deliver the goods that ingratiated them with indie fans many moons ago. The guitar work too harks back to Warnings/Promises or The Remote Part, but feels well-aged and clearly some time spent honing the possibilities of sonic invention has led Idlewild to this newer, more mature exercise in atmospherics. This is perhaps most evident on ‘Utopia’, a fragile, piano led composition that is an excellent inclusion on album that otherwise works well, but doesn’t really work better than previous efforts.
That’s not to say it’s a poor LP. In fact, Woomble seems to have learned a lot from his time as a solo singer-songwriter. Lyrically, Everything Ever Written is at times clever, witty and honest. There aren’t exactly moments of confessional, anxiety laden platitudes, but there doesn’t need to be considering the way in which Woomble delivers them. His proclivity for implying the visual rather than the poignantly emotional is prevalent throughout Everything Ever Written, ‘Nothing I Can Do About It’ being the standout example of this.
Considering that it’s been six years since their last record, Idlewild seem determined to pick up from where they left off, rather than create something revolutionary and this makes for an overall solid effort. Everything Ever Written might not blow you away, but it certainly won’t disappoint, and after such long time, that’s the best we can hope for from Idlewild.