Every scene has its also-rans, its runners up, its second placers and post Britpop indie is no exception. Now, these monickers may seem harsh at first, however, if you think of all the bands that don't even qualify as also-rans, the forgotten contenders of a time gone by, then finishing second place to Travis et al. may not seem so bad, as you look over your shoulder at Dodgy and the Boo Radleys stumbling over their starting blocks.
Idlewild's shot for the early noughties indie-rock crown was 2002's superb 'The Remote Part', an album whose first three tracks could easily stand up and be counted against the best of the decade's guitar bands; unfortunately, through a mixture of bad luck and worse management, Idlewild never quite got to 'hold the world in their arms', to see if they could bear its weight. However, they're back with a catchy and credible indie stomper, 'Readers and Writers', a tune that announces its arrival with a clatter of drums and a joyous horn section, before singer Roddy Woomble, (Scottish, would you believe?!) begins his verbose stuttering of lachrymose chanting. The innovative lines are sung in that bittersweet way that only a sad song in a major key can really make you feel, sort of like a rainbow shining through a thunderstorm.
The infectious coda of, “and yet you call yourself a heartbreaker” is the most touching part of the song and will surely satisfy fans of old, who still yearn for the arcane aching of 'American English's' marriage of glorious melodies and lyrics. Unfortunately, if one listens to a record from the band's heyday before listening to 'Readers and Writers', it becomes clear that little has changed in terms of song structure, style or even the way they write and perform their music.
Adopting an 'if ain't broke, don't fix it' approach to song writing may work for those bands comfortable enough with their fan base, yet Idlewild are a band that may always wonder what could have been; nonetheless, they're still miles ahead of 'Good Enough'...