Idlewild - The Remote Part (Cover Artwork)


The Remote Part (2002)


Idlewild have come a long way since their first e.p. Captain (1997, Food) was released. Back then they sounded like a Scots version of the Pixies...actually, Roddy sang with an American accent back then so I guess they just sounded like the Pixies. Now, three albums later and they sound like Fugazi scrapping with REM. Roddy Woomble's lyrics always had a sort of Stipean quality to them, now he sings like him too. This is NOT a bad thing in the slightest, bands have to evolve as they grow up lest they get bored. Generally this means they become more mellow and this can lead to some excellent material (see: Jets to Brazil and the Promise Ring's last efforts) other times, it leads to bland music for dads (see: the Get-up Kids' last cd and, to a lesser extent, Green Day's Warning which was a little too Levellers-esque for many tastes).

Todays' Idlewild are a far different proposition to the one which played 20 minute long shows where instruments and band were destroyed and exhausted. Just after the completion of this album bass player Rob Fairfoull, the sole reminder of their punk roots, left the band and was replaced by two members of Irish rockers Turn. This has perhaps robbed the band of its 'Scottish-ness', which was always something they were very proud of. However, that is a debate for another day.

Anyway, The Remote Part is quite simply the best album to EVER come out of Scotland. For those who say Idlewild can't rock see third single 'a Modern Way of Letting Go' and '(I am) What I am Not' which rock you like the proverbial motherfucker. First single and album opener 'You Held the World In Your Arms' soars in all the right places and has been adopted by many sports shows as an unofficial anthem. Second single 'American English' is quite possibly Idlewild's greatest moment and certainly an early highlight.

Idlewild can also 'do' tender with the best of them. See final single 'Live in a Hiding Place' and 'Tell Me Ten Words' for how beautiful Roddy's voice can be.

Album closer 'In Remote Part/ Scottish Fiction' is another contender for Idlewild's best song and is easily one of the best songs I have ever, ever had the pleasure of hearing. The song itself is a love song, something Idlewild have never really done and here it is still quite difficult to understand exactly what it is Roddy is trying to say with lines like "so I'll wait 'til I find the remote part of your heart/ 'cos nowhere else will let us choose a comfortable start/ and even if the breath between us smells of alcohol/ call it confusion in the best way possible"

The song then soars into a rocking outro while former Poet Laureate, 60-year-old Edwin Morgan reads his poem 'Scottish Fiction' that was inspired from a series of letters between himself and Roddy. In the letters the two discussed what it means to be Scottish in the new millennium and, while I have no idea really, the poem is excellent and I'll leave you with it. This album is a must have for true lovers of music. Part-emo, part post-hardcore, part modern rock, all amazing.

Scottish Fiction by Edwin Morgan

It isn't in the mirror, it isn't on the page
It's a red hearted vibration
ushing through the walls of dark imagination
Finding no equation
There's a red road rage, but it's not road rage
It's asylum seekers engulfed by a grudge

Scottish friction, Scottish fiction

It isn't in the castle, it isn't in the mist
It's a calling of the waters as they break to show
The new black death with reactors aglow
Do you think your security will keep you in purity?
You will not shake us off
Above or below

Scottish friction, Scottish fiction