Idlewild are another on the long list of bands who I’ve a lot of time for without ever immersing myself fully with their material.
I’ve actually a fair number of CD singles sitting on the shelves, most of them picked up cheap after they dropped out of the charts or as second-hand copies. I knew the band had been successful, but I was surprised to find out that they had a run of twelve successive Top 40 singles in the UK, beginning with When I Argue I See Shapes (#19, February 1999) all the way through to El Capitan (#39, July 2005). There’s actually enough more than decent songs from this short space of time to make up a listenable ICA, but I’m sure any true fan with real knowledge of the band would look to the earlier and later material to make it a more rounded and representative effort.
Idlewild formed as far back as 1995, and are still very much on the go today, albeit there have been short periods where they were on hiatus with members concentrating on solo projects.
The one time they cracked the Top 10 in the singles chart was May 2002, when the lead single from their fourth album, The Remote Part, crashed in at #9 on the week of its release:-
Ok, it’s got a touch of the anthemic about it, with a chant-a-long chorus helping to drive things along. But with the synths and strings also playing their part, it manages to soar majestically above being bog-standard stadium rock, to the extent that I’d argue it would make for the perfect ICA opening track, one that would surely have got then through the ongoing World Cup group stages if they had been eligible to enter.
It was released on limited edition 7″ vinyl and 2 x CDs. I’ve CD1 in the collection – picked up for 99p after it fell out of the charts – and here’s its two additional tracks:-
The first of the b-sides is a reminder that many have made a suggestion that Idlewild can occasionally come across, melodically, as the Scottish R.E.M. It’s a really decent listen.
The second of the b-sides is also worth a few minutes of your time. There are many bands who would have shoved this out as an a-side if they had come up with it.