This has been a bit of a marathon new music week, and the third new CD to plop through the letterbox was the oh-so eagerly awaited new Idlewild offering.
Having fallen out with, walked away from, or somesuch, their last label they decided last year to self-release their next (and sixth?) Idlewild album. They asked their fan base if they would pre-order the album in return for an early copy of it, some free live downloads and a mention on the poster included with the CD. How could I resist? And lo and behold there is yours truly printed for all the world (perhaps with a magnifying glass) to see. I know its a bit tragic, but it does instill a small sense of ownership and an unfounded closeness to the project.
Another case of being anxiously eager to listen, but worried that it might disappoint. Not a bit of it, a rollicking good set it is . It would appear that being released from the shackles of a label has done them some good; the set feels free-er, lighter of touch and less laboured than the last outing; they even sound as if they were enjoying themselves!
There is good mix of quieter tracks that have some of the hallmarks of more recent Woomble work of a folkier vein (including the voice of Heidi Talbot and John McCusker on violin), and then again some up-and-at-em stuff with the Scottish inflections and more than a whiff of former greatness. Of course for those of us visionary enough to get the pre-order CD there is an extra track, No Wiser, as another reward for our committment and patience.
If this sort of fan based financial primer to fund music actually works then it does seem a good alternative model to getting tied down by a label. They must feel much more in control of the whole thing although they too have had to carry the problems that ensue like the pressings getting stuck in the Czeck Republic and so forth.
I can only hope that the advent of the regular release in September will see them back on the road to promote it - it should sound very fine live I would have thought. I didn't catch it at their Dingwalls residency but they were on exemplary form for the night we were there - more of this please!
I might have stuck up a track here to listen to but they asked very nicely in an accompanying note with the package, not to push the music around the web and so erode their investment - you can't help feeling supportive of this when you know they have had to go out on a limb to get this CD released.
Here's to a continued return to form for Messrs Idlewild