Idlewild

SXSW Records

Phases and Stages

Idlewild

The Remote Part (Capitol) Traditionally, or at least in the cases of Simple Minds and the Proclaimers, Scottish bands have made a big splash in the U.S. and then disappeared without a trace. Pray that doesn't happen to Idlewild. The Edinburgh lads' second album, The Remote Part, is the best stargazing rock LP since Remy Zero's The Golden Hum; it doesn't lack much on Coldplay's astute romanticism either. But where Chris Martin and company are piano-based cozy London interiors, Idlewild are rugged guitars and panoramic Highland vistas. As with their 2001 debut, 100 Broken Windows, it's hard not to detect a hint of Document-era R.E.M., but corkers like "(I Am) What I Am Not," "A Modern Way of Letting Go," and "Stay the Same" are much more of a piece with their Irish counterparts Ash: unfettered and exuberantly charged with limitless youthful potential. What are here that weren't before are orchestral flourishes that lead to the perfect pop of "You Held the World in Your Arms" and a harmonic depth that makes the more acoustic textures of "American English" a surefire future Glasgow and Aberdeen prom standard. "All I Never Wanted" reveals how much they loved the Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin. Giddy, confident, and instantly memorable, The Remote Part is great Brit pop and great rock & roll. (Don't you) forget about them. (Antone's, Friday, March 14, 1am)

****

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