I’m writing a chapter in my musical journey at the moment that starts with the mighty R.E.M. and then tracks through some bands that shared a similar sound and ethos. It splits into two paths: one, the more melodic, minor key side of the music; the other the harder-core sound that links to the likes of the Pixies, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and others.
Anyway, still on the melodic side, I finished a piece on Teenage Fanclub today and turned briefly to another Scottish band, who made some great pop/rock sounds in the early 2000s: Idlewild. Led by guitarist Roddy Woomble (not to be confused with the Wombles* ) Idlewild made music that had a cinematic quality at times and combined the sounds of R.E.M. with The Smiths and even a bit of U2 and Echo and the Bunnymen (in their more pompous moments). And they had a bit of what I like to call celtic soul.
Their best album was “The Remote Part” which came out in 2002.
The hits from the album were “You held The World In Your Arms” and “American English”. Both very fine songs, but my favourite was a track called “I Never Wanted”. The early part was very Smiths, but as the song built through the bridge and into the chorus, there was a guitar which chimed like U2’s Edge’s and then just began to sing. To soar. It’s that guitar sound which makes the song so special for me. It’s one of those tunes that just seems to reach for the sky, that expresses a feeling that is hard to put into words. Truly uplifting.
All you can do is reach for that air guitar!
Have a listen.
* The Wombles were a bunch of furry animals in a kids’ BBC TV series from the seventies, who lived in Wimbledon Common and unbelievably had a number of pop hits, including the classic “Remember You’re A Womble”. This has nothing to do with Idlewild!